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2015年7月 4日 (土)

Art exhibition of Iseyoshi ancestors at Nara National Museum

 

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Img_2135_2_2 In June National Nara Art Museum held an exhibition of art works by three of my ancestors. I felt anxious and excited as I entered the museum as if to see my great grandfathers.

 

 

Img_2137_2Img_2138_2_2The exhibition highlighted works of the three artists, Shoko Kiuchi who is my great granduncle, Hanko Kiuchi, his father, and  Kihachi Kiuchi, Hanko's father (and his uncle in blood relationship). Yoshitaro Chitani, the second owner of Iseyoshi, is brother of Hanko.

 

 

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Some of the displayed works included those which had been introduced only in a book in monochromatic pictures(http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4876017506) written by Takeo Kiuchi, his son who had worked at Ueno National Museum.  I was deighted to see them finally in reality, certainly in full colors.  The works give life to wood grain, exuding energy of the wood. From the displayed sketches I sensed warth like grandfathers drawing to their grandchildren.  Kihachi crafted 6-serial guns by an order of Bakufu at the time of Perry's arrival to Japan on Kurofune (black ships). He was also a sculptor of Buddha statues and a vessel carpenter. He was such a novel person that a story was written based on his character. Hanko and Shoko were Mokugashi, wood inlaid work artists engaging in restoration and replication of Gyobutsu at Shousouin, as well as producing Bachiru. (Art works of rendering motifs on dyed surface of ivory. Carved lines to depict motifs are shown white. The technique was developed in China and then transferred to Japan in Nara period.) Mokuga is to depict motifs or patterns with inlaid wood, shell, gold, stones, etc, on wood surface.

Mokuga is the technique nearly extinct. It is not surprising because, for example, it takes 15 to 20 years to soak a piece in oxydized verdiqris in order to stablize green color.  Rebuilding of Shinto shrines has significance in itself, for a technique and tradition dies unless it is not succeeded.

As my DNA from these ancestors shows, I have a strong passion to retain the endangered Japanese kimono. (There are lots of fake kimonos including printed ones and those not made in Japan.) My ancestors seemed to frequently visit Nara to attend Gyobutsu as Shousouin. In this trip to Nara I renewed my resolution to work worthy of my descent.

 

 




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