Exhibition: Meiji – The Splendours of Imperial Japan

Exhibition dates: 17 October 2018 – 14 January 2019

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Meiji era (1868-1912), this exhibition at the Musée Guimet, Paris, highlights the explosion of creativity in Japanese arts at a time of transition in the country’s history. The period  when Japan opened to the West, and swift modernisation, industrialisation, and militarisation followed, which consequently brought growth in the cities.

Over 350 works of art are on view, on loan from French and international institutions, such as the  Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Musée d’Orsay, Victoria & Albert Museum, and the British Museum, as well as the Khalili Collection of Japanese Art.

The Meiji was a time of great change for Japan, which used its artistic heritage, as one response, to help the country move forward to meet the  challenges and demands of the new century. The Meiji period transformed Japan from a medieval, feudal past  to a modern, international country, equipped to meet and compete in the modern increasingly globalised world, without entirely giving up its own identity.

An excellent in-depth article on the exhibition can be found on the website of the Asian Art Newspaper.

Location: Musée Guimet, 6 place d’léna, 75116 Paris

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Exhibition: Kimonos – Au bonheur des dames

musee-guimet-kimonos-au-bonheur-des-dames

Exhibition dates: 22 February – 22 May 2017

Pieces from the collection of the famous Matsuzakaya fashion house are currently being exhibited for the first time outside of Japan, at the Musée Guimet in Paris. When shown together, they offer an opportunity to witness the evolution of Japanese fashion from the Edo period (1603–1868) up to the present day. The exhibition follows the development of the kimono and its accompanying accessories, in order to illustrate the position of women and the way in which women’s bodies are viewed in Japanese society, but also the ways in which these have been reinterpreted in contemporary Japanese and French fashion.

Originally worn as underclothing before being adopted by samurai and courtiers, and eventually becoming everyday wear for all social classes, the kimono, known as ‘kosode’ in the nineteenth century, is the signature item of Japanese dress. It wasn’t until the middle of the nineteenth century that kimonos were worn as indoor dress by elegant women in France, at a time when a taste for ‘japonism’ was in vogue with fashion designers such as Paul Poiret (1879–1944) or Madeleine Vionnet (1876–1975), whose diaphonous creations with flowing sleeves resemble the loose construction of kimonos.

For more information, visit the website of the Musée Guimet, Paris.