About the Museum

The Collection

Art of the Pre-modern Ages

 Among the art objects of the pre-modern ages, the collection has a number of superior pieces that represent each era in the calligraphy, painting and craft divisions. The calligraphy division includes the Soranjyo(traced copy of the collection of letters)by Master calligrapher Wang Yi-zhi of the 4th century in China, codices, handwritings and Chinese books by master calligraphers of the Heian to Kamakura periods such as Ono-no Michikaze, and various writings by historically famous people since the Muromachi period. The main pieces among the painting division include pre-modern pictorial scrolls such as Kasuga Gongen Genki E (Picture Scrolls of the Miracles of Kasuga Gongen Shrine), and Moko Shurai Ekotoba (Picture scrolls of Mongolian Invasion), articles from the Old House of Prince Katsura such as Screens of Scenes of the Tale of Genji by Kano Tanyu, Chinese Lions by Kano Eitoku, and Colorful Realm of Living Beings, the masterpiece by Ito Jakuchu, one of the representative modern era painters. As for the craft division, treasures originally presented to the Horyuji Temple of the Nara period, and a number of masterworks among lacquer court furniture of the early modern period are well known, such as the Set of stationary stand and writing box design motifs of the Tale of Ise.

Modern Japanese Art

 The modern Japanese art works entered the Imperial Household collection through various circumstances, such as presents celebrating auspicious events, objects purchased at expositions and exhibitions, and works commissioned by Imperial order or the Imperial Household Ministry. Our museum’s collection is also enriched in quality, with works by Imperial Court Artists, and works exhibited in governmental exhibitions, especially of the painting and craft divisions. Among the Nihonga(Japanese paintings), the collection features many works by Araki Kanpo and Kawabata Gyokusho of the Meiji period, and Yokoyama Taikan active in the Taisho and Showa periods. Also, the various superior works of the craft division include master craft works of the Meiji period such the Bugaku dancer, Ranryo-o by metalwork artist Unno Shomin, and the Flower vase with design of birds and blossoms in four seasons by cloisonné artist Namikawa Yasuyuki. Furthermore, the sculpture and oil painting divisions also play an important part among modern Japanese art, with the fine works by wood sculptor Takamura Koun, and painters such as Takahashi Yuichi, Goseda Yoshimatsu and Yamamoto Hosui. Also, many photographic works mainly of the Meiji period as a division close to art as visual expression are also included.

Art of Foreign Countries

 Among the foreign art works, portraits of sovereigns of various countries by Acchile San Giovanni and Giuseppe Ugolini who were 19th century Italian artists deeply related to the oil painting world in the Meiji period, and various craft works of the Art Deco era, can be listed as the representative works of modern European art works. One must not forget the rich variety of ethnological paintings and crafts that were tokens of friendly relations within the associations of the Imperial Household and the various countries throughout the world.