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Edo: Arts of Japan’s Last Shogun Age (1603-1868)

April 3, 2009 - April 3, 2009

Edo is the old name for the city of Tokyo; it is also the name for the historic period from 1603 until 1868 when Japan was ruled by military leaders, called shoguns, that came from the Tokugawa family.  They ruled Japan for a remarkable 250 years.  Edo started as a small fishers’ village, but it soon developed into a busy and overpopulated city in which commerce, arts and crafts and the entertainment business flourished and in which rich and poor lived side by side.

This exhibition and catalogue will draw upon a wide variety of Edo period art forms in the AGGV’s extensive Japanese collection like paintings, prints, ceramics, lacquerwares, metalwares, textiles and clothing accessories, religious art and samurai paraphernalia.  More than anything, the prints known as ukiyo-e will reveal the life and customs of the Edo period, offering unrivaled material for the study of daily life across the length and breadth of Edo period Japan. The prints also reveal aspects of Edo religion, folklore/legends and historical scenes.  Prints were appreciated by the commoners of the Edo period, while fine paintings, ceramics and lacquerwares reveal the tastes of the upper classes.

This exhibition features one of the few important palanquins or sedan chairs outside of Japan.  It is decorated with the gold crest of the Tokugawa family and detailed with bamboo in gold, green, bronze and brown maki-e laquer.

Funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Museum Assistance Program.

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