Celebrate the arts and history of Japan when the Detroit Institute of Arts inaugurates its new Japan Cultural Hall this month with a series of special exhibitions, performances and installations.
The DIA’s new Japan Gallery brings together newly acquired works with old favorites that have not been on view for years, and goes beyond a focus on painting styles, artistic techniques, and historical significance. It explores the ways works can define a space as special, inspiring both stillness and movement in those who encounter the art.
A masterful lacquered sculpture of a Rakan, or disciple of the Buddha, offers a sense of serenity and a stilled mind that exemplifies Japanese Zen Buddhism. One of 500 figures made for a temple in Japan that burned down, the DIA’s is one of only seven in the United States. A recently purchased sixteenth-century Samurai helmet, a demonstration of remarkable craftsmanship, comes with a prestigious history, having been owned by the family of one of the most important Samurai generals who unified Japan in the 1500s.
Built in to the gallery will be a space similar to a Tokonoma—the spiritual center of many Japanese homes reserved for the most prized objects. Works of art such as paintings, contemporary ceramics, and other fine objects in the collection will be displayed and replaced with the change of seasons.