The Life of Animals in Japanese Art at National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, through August 18, 2019

“Artworks representing animals—real or imaginary, religious or secular—span the full breadth and splendor of Japanese artistic production. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, presents The Life of Animals in Japanese Art, the first exhibition devoted to the subject, covering 17 centuries (from the fifth century to the present day) and a wide variety of media—sculpture, painting, lacquerwork, ceramics, metalwork, textile, and the woodblock print. The exhibition features more than 300 works, drawn from 66 Japanese and 30 American public and private collections. The artists represented range from Sesson Shūkei, Itō Jakuchū, Soga Shōhaku, Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kuniyoshi to Okamoto Tarō, Kusama Yayoi, Issey Miyake, Nara Yoshitomo, and Murakami Takashi.

Many of the nearly 180 works traveling from Japan are masterpieces that rarely—if ever—leave the country, including seven designated as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. Three of the registered artworks are from the Tokyo National Museum: the six-foot-tall Monju Bosatsu Seated on a Lion, with Standing Attendants (1273) by the Buddhist sculptor Kōen; the intricately carved wood sculpture Aged Monkey (1893) by Takamura Kōun; and the Footed Bowl with Applied Crabs (19th century) by Miyagawa Kōzan I. Two Buddhist hanging scrolls are on loan from the Nara National Museum: Sword with Kurikara Dragon and Two Child Acolytes (13th century) and Fugen Enmei (13th century). Finally, the wood sculpture Fugen’s Elephant (13th century) is on loan from a private collection, and a spectacular bronze, Deer Bearing Symbols of the Kasuga Deities (14th century), is on loan from the Hosomi Museum, Kyoto.” — National Gallery of Art

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Kusama Yayoi. Sho-chan, Heisei period, 2013. fiberglass-reinforced plastic; paint. overall: 68 × 28 × 88 cm (26 3/4 × 11 × 34 5/8 in.). Private collection

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Kusama Yayoi. Megu-chan, Heisei period, 2014. fiberglass-reinforced plastic; paint. overall: 80 × 48 × 101 cm (31 1/2 × 18 7/8 × 39 3/4 in.). Cori and Tony Bates

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Unknown artist. Haniwa Horse, Kofun period, 6th century. earthenware, 121.3 × 116.2 × 41.3 cm (47 3/4 × 45 3/4 × 16 1/4 in.). Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of the David Bohnett Foundation, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, Camilla Chandler Frost, Victoria Jackson and William Guthy, and Laurie and Bill Benenson. Photo © Museum Associates / LACMA

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Utagawa Yoshitora. Picture of the Twelve Animals to Protect the Safety of the Home, Edo period, 1858. woodblock print vertical ōban: 35.2 × 24.3 cm (13 7/8 × 9 9/16 in.). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, William Sturgis Bigelow Collection. Photograph © [2019] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Kaigyokusai Masatsugu. The Twelve Zodiac Animals, Edo – Meiji periods, mid-to-late 19th century. ivory with staining, sumi, inlays overall: 4.1 × 4.1 × 2.2 cm (1 5/8 × 1 5/8 × 7/8 in.). Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Raymond and Frances Bushell Collection Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA

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Unknown Artist. Fugen’s Elephant, Kamakura period, 13th century. wood with pigments, crystal eyes overall (elephant): 60 × 40 × 110 cm (23 5/8 × 15 3/4 × 43 5/16 in.), overall (base): 7 × 50 × 95 cm (2 3/4 × 19 11/16 × 37 3/8 in.). Private collection. Image courtesy of the Nara National Museum. Photo by Sasaki Kosuke

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Kōen. Monju Bosatsu Seated on a Lion, with Standing Attendants, Kamakura period, 1273. set of five statues; wood with pigments, meta leaves, crystal eyes height (total Monju): 193.7 cm (76 1/4 in.) height (statue of Monju): 46.1 cm (18 1/8 in.) height (Uten-o): 69.5 cm (27 3/8 in.) height (Zenzai Doji): 46.2 cm (18 3/16 in.) height (Taishō Rōjin): 70 cm (27 9/16 in.) height (Buddabari): 66.6 cm (26 1/4 in.) overall (lion): 105 × 125 × 60 cm (41 5/16 × 49 3/16 × 23 5/8 in.) overall (Monju): 50 × 35.5 × 31 cm (19 11/16 × 14 × 12 3/16 in.) overall (halo): 78.5 × 65 cm (30 7/8 × 25 9/16 in.) overall (Zenzai Doji): 46.5 × 17.5 × 19 cm (18 5/16 × 6 7/8 × 7 1/2 in.) overall (Base for Zenzai Doji): 8 × 18.5 × 25 cm (3 1/8 × 7 5/16 × 9 13/16 in.) overall (Uten-o): 70 × 30 × 45 cm (27 9/16 × 11 13/16 × 17 11/16 in.) overall (Base for Uten-o): 9 × 29.5 × 34 cm (3 9/16 × 11 5/8 × 13 3/8 in.) overall (Buddabari): 66.5 × 21 × 27 cm (26 3/16 × 8 1/4 × 10 5/8 in.) overall (Base for Buddabari): 9 × 21.5 × 27 cm (3 9/16 × 8 7/16 × 10 5/8 in.) overall (Daishō Rōjin): 71 × 23 × 25 cm (27 15/16 × 9 1/16 × 9 13/16 in.) overall (Base for Daishō Rōjin): 9 × 21.5 × 27 cm (3 9/16 × 8 7/16 × 10 5/8 in.). Tokyo National Museum

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Unknown Artist. Deer Bearing Symbols of the Kasuga Deities, Nanbokuchō period, 14th century. bronze, wood with pigments height: 108 cm (42 1/2 in.). Hosomi Museum, Kyoto

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Nawa Kohei. PixCell-Bambi #14, Heisei period, 2015. mixed media overall: 61.6 × 60 × 60 cm (24 1/4 × 23 5/8 × 23 5/8 in.). Collection of Ms. Stefany Wang

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Unknown Artist. Uchikake with Phoenix and Birds, Meiji period, 19th century. silk crepe, paste-resist dyed overall: 174 × 134 cm (68 1/2 × 52 3/4 in.). Kyoto National Museum

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Utagawa Hiroshige. New Year’s Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree, Ōji, from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, Edo period, 1857. woodblock print image: 33.7 × 21.7 cm (13 1/4 × 8 9/16 in.) sheet: 35 × 22.1 cm (13 3/4 × 8 11/16 in.) mat: 55.9 × 43.2 cm (22 × 17 in.). Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Caroline and Jarred Morse. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA

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Unknown Artist. Helmet Shaped like a Shachihoko, Edo period, 17th – 18th century. iron, gold, brass, leather, wood, paper, lacquer overall: 47.4 × 22.6 × 20.7 cm (18 11/16 × 8 7/8 × 8 1/8 in.). Kozu Kobunka Museum, Kyoto

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Unknown Artist. Helmet Shaped like a Turbo Shell and Half Mask, Edo period, 17th century. iron, gold, silver, wood, lacquer, paper, silk, hemp, horse hair length (shikoro): 5 13/16 in. (14.7 cm) height (helmet): 19.3 cm (7 5/8 in.) overall (helmet): 33 × 35 × 35 cm (13 × 13 3/4 × 13 3/4 in.) overall (half-mask): 14 × 26 × 22 cm (5 1/2 × 10 1/4 × 8 11/16 in.). Tokyo National Museum

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Various Artists. Suit of Armor Shaped like a Tengu, Edo period, 1854 iron; lacquer; vegetable fiber; bear fur; leather; feathers; fabric overall: 177.8 × 71.1 × 45.7 cm (70 × 28 × 18 in.). The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas

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Unknown Artist. Horses and Grooms in the Stable, Muromachi period, early 1500s. pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, and gold on paper; lacquered-wood frame image: 145.9 × 349.6 cm (57 7/16 × 137 5/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Edward L. Whittemore Fund

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Tabaimo. Chirping, Heisei period, 2016. two channel video installation on handmade Japanese scrolls; edition of 5 +1 AP; running time: 7 min. 36 sec. overall (scroll, each): 187.96 × 45.72 cm (74 × 18 in.) image (each): 97.16 × 33.02 cm (38 1/4 × 13 in.). Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York

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Takamura Kōun. Aged Monkey, Meiji period, 1893. wood overall: 113 × 93 × 76.5 cm (44 1/2 × 36 5/8 × 30 1/8 in.). Tokyo National Museum

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Nagasawa Rosetsu. Ox, Edo period, 18th century. hanging scroll; ink and color on paper; painted mount mount: 132 × 73.8 cm (51 15/16 × 29 1/16 in.) width (including roller ends): 80.5 cm (31 11/16 in.). Tessaido Co.

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Miyagawa Kōzan I. Footed Bowl with Applied Crabs, Meiji period, 1881. stoneware with brown glaze height: 37 cm (14 9/16 in.) diameter (mouth): 39.7 cm (15 5/8 in.) diameter (foot): 17.1 cm (6 3/4 in.). Tokyo National Museum

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Fukase Masahisa. Erimo Cape, from the series Ravens, Shōwa period, 1976. gelatin silver print image: 30.3 × 44.1 cm (11 15/16 × 17 3/8 in.) sheet: 36.4 × 50 cm (14 5/16 × 19 11/16 in.). Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, 1990

The exhibition is curated by Robert T. Singer, curator and department head, Japanese art, LACMA, and Masatomo Kawai, director, Chiba City Museum of Art, in consultation with a team of esteemed of Japanese art historians.

Co-organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Japan Foundation, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), with special cooperation from the Tokyo National Museum. LACMA is presenting an abbreviated version of the exhibition, titled Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art from September 22 through December 8, 2019.