Japan's show of skills

Exhibition

Japan's show of skills

Among the several spin-offs of the recently-concluded India Art Fair 2016  in Delhi is the touring exhibition Handcrafted Form: Traditions and Techniques, organised by the Japan Foundation at its premises in Delhi.

Planned and supervised by Kazuko Todate of the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum, the show introduces handcrafted objects made from traditional materials using traditional techniques from all over Japan. It includes two groups of craft objects: one — pieces of ceramics, textiles, metalwork, lacquerware, woodcraft, bamboo work and paper that have played an intimate role in the daily lives of people in Japan; two — an assemblage of creative works of art made by craft artists using skills fostered in a workshop environment.

“Artisans and artists have influenced each other,” says Todate, the curator of the world-travelling exhibition. “This mutual influence has contributed to the depth and high quality of Japanese crafts as a whole. Representative objects designated as ‘Traditional Craft Objects’ by the Japanese Government form the core of the exhibition, supplemented by works of craft artists.”

Watching the show pieces — particularly the stoneware, porcelain and wooden objects, be they the decorated bowls, teapots, incense burners, or vases — one is immediately struck by their colours, shapes and contours as well as the innate artistic talent of the makers who hail from different regions of Japan.

Other objects like the iron kettle, wooden chest of draws and ‘trick’ box attract attention thanks to their delicate designs and striking ornamentation. The show also includes a few but equally-alluring examples of colourful cut glass, decorated handmade paper, writing brushes and textiles.

This is an exceptional show that provides a peek into the richness of Japanese handcrafted objects and the Japanese way of life. Simple yet effective display of items and soothing lighting add to the viewing pleasure.

The exhibition concludes on February 26.

(Admission is free. It remains closed on Sundays and public holidays.)

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