Skip to Main Content

Tani Bunchō, Tiger Family and Magpies, Edo period, 1807, hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Charlotte Wayne and Richard Wayne in memory of Lenore Wayne. Photo © Museum Associates /LACMA

The Roles and Representations of Animals in Japanese Art and Culture, Part 7—Animals in Contemporary Japanese Art and Fashion

Miwako Tezuka, consulting curator, Reversible Destiny Foundation

Artworks representing animals—real or imaginary, religious or secular—span the full breadth and splendor of Japanese artistic production. As the first exhibition devoted to the subject, The Life of Animals in Japanese Art covers 17 centuries (from the fifth century to the present day) and a wide variety of media. At the symposium held on June 7, 2019 in conjunction with the exhibition, Miwako Tezuka discussed how the relationship between animals and humans has changed since the premodern era in Japan. Tezuka examined select contemporary artworks and fashion designs from the exhibition and described uniquely contemporary approaches to animals, or in Japanese, dōbutsu—“things that move.”