The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

When Japan's Tea Ceremony Artisans Meet Minpaku's Collections: Creative Art in Perspective

Dates to be Held: March 12, 2009 - June 2, 2009

Artisans viewing artifacts for selection
The major theme of this Special Exhibition is the display of artwork created by the ten traditional tea ceremony artisans from Kyoto, inspired by being exposed to the collections housed at Minpaku. The ten highly skilled craftspeople or Senke Jisshoku, are the recipients of traditionally transmitted skills within specific families designated to serve the major tea schools (Senke) in Kyoto by creating the implements used in the tea ceremony, while Minpaku is the home of more than a quarter million implements, artifacts and artworks used in a great variety of cultural activities, collected from around the world, of which some 10,000 pieces are currently on permanent display. The ten current Jisshoku are EIRAKU Zengorō, HIKI Ikkan, KOMAZAWA Risai, KURODA Shōgen, NAKAGAWA Jōeki, NAKAMURA Sōtetsu, OKUMURA Kichibei, ŌNISHI Seiwemon, RAKU Kichizaemon, TSUCHIDA Yūko.

In a totally new attempt at this Museum, it was decided to bring the Jisshoku to Minpaku to expose them to the artifacts stored here, suggest that they choose a piece that inspired them and have them create something new within their own tradition. In this way we hope to provide new perspectives on both the artifacts in our collection, showing them to be a mine of potential sources of inspiration for the creative mind, and on the implements traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony showing how their form and function can be developed by today's Artisans and by their successors in future generations.

The exhibition will be complemented by a comparison of many of the craft skills used by the Jisshoku with those used by artisans from cultures around the world in creating their own artworks.
Chair, Organizing Committee

Themes of the Exhibition

Theme 1
Introducing Jisshoku, the Ten Tea Ceremony Artisans of Japan: Their Traditions, Activities and Artworks
Why Jisshoku at Minpaku? In this section the history of each Jisshoku family and their work will be shown, along with representative artworks from earlier generations of each family.

Theme 2
Jisshoku Inspired: What They See, Feel and Create
An artwork created by each of the Jisshoku that was inspired by exploring Minpaku's collections is exhibited in this area, along with the artifacts chosen from the exhibition that stimulated the new works.

Theme 3
Artisans and Their Work from Around the World
The artwork created by Jisshoku and their skills are compared to those of artisans around the world, through a comparison of activities such as beating, casting, molding, baking, painting, socketing, bending, weaving, bonding, cutting, and sewing, skills used at various stages of the creative manufacture of art and the tools used for these activities.


About Senke Jisshoku (appears also as “Jisshoku” on websites)