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Last Defense: The Genius of Japanese Meiji Metalwork

Nagasone Tojiro Mitsumasa, Helmet in the form of a Sea Conch Shell

September 13, 2017 - September 2, 2018

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912), the political revolution when power was restored to the emperor from the samurai class, this exhibition focuses on the genius and versatility of metalworkers during this transitional moment. With the decline of the samurai class and its privileges, armor-makers, such as the renowned four centuries-old Myochin family of metalworkers, applied their exemplary skills and artistry to develop new types of metal products, from toys to decorative art. This show will feature magnificent works from the Museum's Higgins collection, as well as a special selection of loans.

Kozan, Articulated Jizai Figurine of a Lobster

Top image: Nagasone Tojiro Mitsumasa, Helmet in the form of a Sea Conch Shell, 1618, iron with traces of lacquer, textiles, The John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection, 2014.89.1

Bottom image: Kozan, Articulated “Jizai” Figurine of a Lobster, about 1900, iron, The John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection, 2014.609


The Wall Street Journal
Creativity Forged Anew in Japan
By Lee Lawrence, January 8, 2018

Selected Images

UNNO Shomin, Dove Okimono, about 1900 Myochin Ki (no) Munechika, Acorn-shaped Kabuto, February 1855
UNNO Moritoshi, Koro (Incense Burner), about 1885 HIRAYAMA Kantei, Vase, 1900-1916