Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture: A Short History

Opening-day event: In Japan, fossilized wood from the urushi tree whose toxic sap is distilled to gain lacquer has been excavated and radiocarbon dated to about 10,600 BCE. From around 7,000 BCE date the oldest unearthed utilitarian pieces with lacquer coating, confirming that humans in East Asia have made use of lacquer since several thousand years. This talk will explore the development of lacquer art in Japan from around 1900 until today, focusing on the birth and rise of sculptural artworks that are without a utilitarian purpose. It is presented in connection with Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture, the first-ever comprehensive exhibition of this new art form.

Andreas Marks, PhD, is the curator of Japanese and Korean Art, Japanese and Korean Art Department Head and Director of the Clark Center at Mia.

Generous support provided by Gale Family Endowment. This lecture is also made possible by the generous support of the Elsa Carpenter Asian Art Lecture Fund.

$10; $5 My Mia members, free for Asian Art Affinity Group members. Click here for tickets.