Embodying a highly distinctive sensitivity to form, texture and pattern, Japanese baskets epitomize the Japanese genius for elevating craft into art. Originating as utilitarian containers using humble materials, baskets have developed over the centuries into a highly sophisticated and complex art form prized by connoisseurs and collectors as sculptural works in their own right.
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The collection of more than one thousand Japanese baskets assembled over three decades by Lloyd E. Cotsen is the most important in existence. One hundred of the finest pieces, selected for their extraordinary beauty, intricate craftsmanship, rarity and art historical importance, will be exhibited for the first time at the Asia Society. Curated by Mary Hunt Kahlenberg, this groundbreaking exhibition will offer a far more comprehensive view of Japanese baskets than the few previous and much smaller exhibitions, fuller in scope and underpinned by up-to-date research.
In order to emphasize the aesthetic qualities of the works, the exhibition will be organized in two main sections. The introductory section in the Ross Gallery will explore the historical evolution and the social context of the craft, the relationship with chabana and ikebana flower arranging and will also document the various techniques. The main section in the Rockefeller Gallery will focus on the stunning aesthetic qualities of the works - their sculptural forms, intriguing textures and beautiful patterns, but will also elucidate the lineages of masters and workshops.
The exhibition is particularly strong in pieces made by members of lineages and by masters designated "Living National Treasures." Included will be a basket by the first known basket maker to sign his work, Hayakawa Shôkosai I, as well as his living successor Shôkosai V. There will also be fine examples by such pivotal figures as Shôno Shôunsai, the first artist working in bamboo to be designated a "Living National Treasure," and works by Iizuka Rôkansai, an instrumental figure in establishing works in bamboo as a new genre of art. Also shown will be works by current "Living National Treasures" including Iizuka Shôkansai and Maeda Chikubosai II.
Tuesday through Saturday 12:30 P.M. (Thursday also at 6:30 P.M.)
Sunday 2:30 P.M.
$4 general admission $2 students and senior citizens
Free admission Thursday 6:00 - 8:00 P.M.
Free to members at all times.
For more information, the public should call (212) 517-ASIA.