Ritual sake bottle (late 18th century-early 19th century)
lacquer on wood (Negoro lacquer)
31.8 x 23.5 cm diameter
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through the NGV Foundation by Mr S. Baillieu Myer AC, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2005
The 2006 Year of Exchange commemorates the 30th anniversary of the 1976 Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Australia and Japan, and aims to celebrate the close and enduring connections between Australia and Japan.
Focus on Lacquer, a project developed with generous assistance from Baillieu Myer, celebrates one of the most highly regarded expressions of Japanese art. The installation, curated by Dr. Mae Anna Pang and Carol Cains from the Asian Art Department, includes works from the permanent collection and feature loans from the collections of Baillieu Myer and Pauline Gandel, Melbourne, and contemporary Japanese lacquer artist Unrûyan Kitamura Tatsuo. The inclusion of Unrûyan’s works was facilitated by Leslie Kehoe Gallery, Melbourne.
The exhibition comprises a total of twenty lacquer works, plus a collection of twelve works illustrating the process of lacquer, lent by Michiko Suganuma. The works on display explore the range of lacquer ware produced in Japan from the fourteenth century to the present. Styles represented include contemporary and historical Negoro lacquer and maki-e lacquer. As a group the works on display demonstrate both the continuity and diversity within the tradition of Japanese lacquerware, as well as the complexity of the production process.