The Art and Culture of Japan:
17th-20th centuries

Second floor, rooms 375 and 376

A prominent place in the exhibition is occupied by woodcuts, one of
the most popular forms of Japanese art. In the second half of the seven-
teenth century a school known as Ukiyo-e ("Pictures of Our Transitory
World") developed in the Japanese capital Yedo, present-day Tokyo.
The artists of this school, breaking with the traditions of medieval
painting which was limited to a number of religious subjects and conven-
tional landscapes, turned to the graphic arts as a more popular form,
depicting in their works the life of the townspeople and vivid scenes from
their native countryside. Well represented in the exhibition is the work
of the most prominent exponents of colour-printing, Suzuki Harunobu
(1725-1770), Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Katsushika Hokusai
(1760-1849) and Ando Hiroshige (1794-1858). Japanese engraving,
with its variety of subjects, expressiveness of line, beauty of colour and
originality of compositional design, became known in the West in the
mid-nineteenth century and exercised a definite influence upon the work
of many European artists. The exhibition includes the earliest of the

thirteenth and early fourteenth century Japanese Buddhist paintings in the
Soviet Union with the representation of Kokudzu, a deity giving wisdom
and prosperity. The fundamental methods of monochrome painting in
Indian ink on silk were brought to Japan from China, and it was in this
manner that Tanyu Kano, a well-known artist of the early seventeenth
century, produced his album of miniatures (horizontal case by the

The Hermitage possesses valuable examples of Japanese decorative
and applied art, one of the distinctive features of which is the variety of
materials and methods of execution. Miniature statuettes and decorative
waist-pendants (netsuke], made from bone and wood, depict scenes from
the life of the people and from Japanese history, legend and mythology.
Also of note are the details on the handles of swords (tsuba) made from
iron, silver, bronze and different non-ferrous alloys and embellished with
incisions and engraving. Refined taste, skill, and a wealth of imagination
of the craftsmen are also evident in the lacquers; black and gold Japanese
lacquer was particularly famous-see the caskets, and the boxes for Indian
ink and brushes, for medicine, tea and tobacco. There are two
caskets bearing the signature of the well-known craftsman Ogata Korin

In the second room there is a fine collection of modern decorative and
applied art-articles of clay, lacquer, metal, wood and bamboo, handmade
by the foremost Japanese craftsmen. These items include a vase made of
forged silver with fish designs; a cotton fabric screen, Pine Forest; a
forged-iron statuette, Sea-lion, and a flame-red lacquer vase. Folk art
is represented by ceramic plates and dishes, fabrics, lacquers and
wooden toys.








The Art and Culture of the Peoples of Central Asia
The Art and Culture of the Peoples of the Caucasus
The Art and Culture of Egypt
The Art and Culture of Babylon Assyria and Neighbouring Countries
The Art and Culture of Byzantium
The Art and Culture of the Countries of the Near and Middle East
The Art and Culture of India
The Art and Culture of China
The Art and Culture of Mongolia
The Art and Culture of Japan
The Art and Culture of Indonesia

- The Hermitage - The History of the Museum -
- The Hermitage - The Department of Russian Culture -
- The Hermitage - The Department of Prehistoric Culture -
- The Hermitage - The Department of the Art and Culture of the Peoples of the East -
- The Hermitage - The Department of the Art and Culture of Antiquity -
- The Hermitage - The Department of Western European Art -
- The Hermitage - The Numismatic Department -
- Floor Pans -