Chrysanthemum and Dragon: The Art of Ornamentation in Japan and China
Why We Recommend it
Featuring over 180 Japanese objects and more than 50 objects from the museum’s classical Ming and Qing dynasties furniture collection, the exhibition offers a comprehensive insight into two Asian superpowers’ differing yet equally lavish arts and crafts movements during the 17th to 19th century.
Chrysanthemum and Dragon will be one of the largest exhibitions in Hong Kong to explore the shared decorative traditions of China and Japan, allowing visitors to compare the craftsmanship of both cultures side-by-side.
In the 17th century, there was active patronage in arts and crafts in both China and Japan. Political stability and economic prosperity under the reign of emperor Qianlong (1736–95) allowed for a focus on the patronage and creation of arts and crafts, as well as the renewal of traditional craftsmanship. This resulted in a golden period in traditional Chinese craftsmanship, as evident by the baibao (hundred treasures) inlay on many of the scholarly objects on display. On the other hand, the rise of a new social class, chonin (merchants and artisans who profited by lending money and selling artefacts to the other social classes), during the Edo period greatly influenced the artistic style of the Edo arts and crafts. Objects of everyday use including yatate (portable writing sets) and kiseru (smoking pipes) became heavily decorated with lacquer and inlay as demanded by chonin and the samurai ruling class.
The exhibits — classical Chinese furniture and scholarly objects alongside Japanese artefacts —demonstrate the development of the crafts in the respective culture, and illustrate the underlying Sino-Nippon cultural exchanges traced back to the Tang dynasty (618–907).
Please note that Wednesdays are open free of charge to full-time students with prior arrangement.