But I’m actually here to tell you about an event and an exhibition I’m looking forward to. The exhibition is called The Beauty of the Moment ~ Women in Japanese Woodblocks Prints and is taking place at Museum Rietberg in Zurich from the 7th of July to the 14th of October. What I’m looking forward to even more though, is the Tanabata star festival, meaning “Evening of the seventh” that will be the opening of the exhibition. There will be concerts, yummy japanese food stands, movies, workshops, and even a tea ceremony.
Teahouse girls under a wistaria espalier by Kitagawa Utamaro
Tanabata has its origins in a moving love story. Only on this one particular day of the year can the weaver Orihime and the cowherd Hikoboshi meet before the two stars Wega and Altair, which represent the two lovers, are separated again by the Milky Way.
Every year on 7 July, children and adults write a wish on a piece of paper in honour of the lovers. Hung from bamboo branches, their wishes should come true.
Seventh Month, Evening Send-Off by Torii Kiyonaga
The core of the exhibition however, is an exquisite selection of 100 representations of women by Japan’s best-known woodblock printers of the 18th and 19th centuries. An essential element of Japanese woodcuts is the idea of capturing the ephemeral moment. In the genre of bijinga – pictures of beautiful women –, artists portray women in snapshots full of irretrievable charm.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, color woodblock prints in Japan played a role similar to that played by commercial art in Europe today. But soon – probably because Western art lovers admired the intricacy and refinement of the compositions – individual works were gaining world renown. The appeal of this typically Japanese art form continues to this day. Artists and designers in particular value woodblocks as an important source of inspiration. A key element of Japanese woodblock prints, which is encapsulated by the term ukiyo-e, ‘pictures of the floating world’, is the way they capture the fleeting moment.
The works displayed come mostly from the famous collection of the novelist James A. Michener (1907–1997). The Honolulu Museum of Art, where the Michener collection is housed, possesses one of the most outstanding and best pre- served collections of Japanese woodblocks in the world. All the pictures and information in this entry are from the museum’s website: Rietberg
Do you like Japanese art? Frankly I’m not the frequent museum visitor but if there’s a little fun bound to it, why not? I wish I had a traditional Japanese robe to wear for such events like a Yukata but I guess something else will have to do.
Laurita & Miho-chan, it would be fun to see you there