Skip to Content
Admission is always free Directions
The Gallery is closed today
Japan: The Shaping of Daimyo Culture 1185-1868
October 30, 1988 – January 23, 1989
East Building, Upper Level and Mezzanine, Northeast, Pod I and Mezzanine, North Terrace (14,000 sq. ft.)

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: More than 450 objects illustrated Japanese art and ritual during 700 years of patronage by warrior-aristocrats, the feudal baron daimyo. Included were portraits, sculpture, armor, swords, saddles, scrolls, screens, sliding door panels, lacquer, ceramics, robes, Noh masks, and tea utensils, many officially designated in Japan as National Treasures, Important Cultural Properties, and Important Art Objects. The fragility of many objects necessitated rotations of 5 different groups for 4 weeks each and replacement with other works of the same general type. A traditional Noh stage was built on the mezzanine for special performances, and a teahouse and garden were constructed on the ground floor, where traditional tea ceremonies were held on several occasions.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan and the Japan Foundation with the National Gallery. Guest curator was Yoshiaki Shimizu. Dodge Thompson was the National Gallery coordinator. Gaillard Ravenel and Mark Leithauser designed the exhibition and Gordon Anson designed the lighting.

Sponsor: The exhibition was supported by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Yomiuri Shimbun, the Nomura Securities Co., Ltd., and other Japanese companies, with an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Japan Air Lines provided transportation.

Attendance: 280,812

Catalog: Japan: The Shaping of Daimyo Culture 1185-1868, edited by Yoshiaki Shimizu. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1988.

Brochure: Japan: The Shaping of Daimyo Culture 1185-1868. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1988.
Japan: The Art of the Tea Ceremony. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1988.

Image: Installation view of Japan: The Shaping of Daimyo Culture 1185-1868, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gallery Archives

exhibition catalog

Download a free PDF of the exhibition catalog (PDF 130.69MB)