Kiyochika Kobayashi, Japan, 1847 - 1915, Taira no Tadanori (1144–1184) resting under a cherry tree, 1884 (Meiji 17), Tokyo, woodblock print, ink and colour on paper, triptych; d'Auvergne Boxall Bequest Fund 2013, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photo: Stewart Adams.
The Art Gallery of South Australia today announces Samurai, an exhibition featuring over 100 works of art from AGSA’s Japanese collection that portray the pervasive influence of the samurai in Japan from the 14th to 20th centuries.
Gosotei Hirosada, Japan, died 1865, The kabuki actor Nakamura Utaemon IV as Kumagaya Jiro Naozane, album of colour woodblock actor prints, 25.0 x 19.0 cm: Elizabeth and Tom Hunter Fund 2008.
Russell Kelty, Curator, Samurai and Associate Curator, Asian Art at AGSA, says, ‘The culture and identity of the samurai are often understood in one particular context: as ferocious and loyal warriors who lived by a strict moral code.’ Kelty continues, ‘Samurai seeks to redress this by presenting the complexities of their cultural influence and their transformation into a global phenomenon.’ The expansive display of textiles, lacquer, ceramics, metalware, screens, scrolls, prints and swords, will open from Friday 24 July and highlight exemplary works from AGSA’s collection, some of which will be on display for the first time.
Their patronage of the arts and cultural pursuits remain inextricably woven into the fabric of Japanese art and society.
Samurai – meaning ‘to serve’ – originally referred to regional warriors tasked with guarding the provincial estates of the aristocracy based in Kyoto. Their ascension marked a distinct transition in Japan and for over 600 years the samurai class ruled the archipelago. Their patronage of the arts and cultural pursuits remain inextricably woven into the fabric of Japanese art and society.
AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM, says, ‘This exhibition honours the prevailing cultural impact of the samurai as both masters of art and war and heralds AGSA’s longstanding commitment to representing the fertile and influential cultural histories of Japanese art.’
Yoshimasa, Fuchi-kashira set, fuchi: samurai on horseback carrying a standard; kashira; obverse: samurai on horseback; reverse: tent, lances and flag, c.1790, shibuichi, shakudo, gold, 3.4 cm (fuchi, length), 3.9 cm (kashira, length); Gift of John and Geraldine Halls 1984, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
An online resource titled Samurai envisioned: warrior, culture, commodity will accompany the exhibition, supported by The Japan Foundation, and will be made available on the AGSA website here. Russell Kelty, Associate Curator, Asian Art, will be presenting an online talk on Tuesday 28 July, to introduce Samurai.
Japanese Modernism showcases works created during the first half of the 20th century, when Japan’s traditional art and aesthetics interacted with European life and culture, resulting in an era of modernism and the emergence of Asian Art Deco architecture, paintings, prints, design and fashion.
Anna Schwartz Gallery will present Daniel von Sturmer’s ongoing series Electric Light (facts/figures…) as part of Melbourne Art Fair’s free Virtual Art Fair taking place from 1-7 June 2020 in partnership with Ocula.