05.03.2018

Nezu Museum: A Step Into Aoyama’s Oasis

Located in the trendy district of Aoyama, Tokyo, the Nezu Museum is a treasure trove of East Asian art and Japanese gardens

  • Nezu Museum: A Step Into Aoyama’s Oasis
  • Nezu Museum: A Step Into Aoyama’s Oasis
  • Nezu Museum: A Step Into Aoyama’s Oasis
  • Nezu Museum: A Step Into Aoyama’s Oasis
  • Nezu Museum: A Step Into Aoyama’s Oasis
  • Nezu Museum: A Step Into Aoyama’s Oasis

Near Tokyo’s Omotesando, surrounded by a 17,000m² garden, stands the Nezu Museum.The museum houses the private collection of pre-modern Japanese and East Asian art of KaichirōNezu, a businessman who served as the president of Tobu Railway. Born in Yamanashi Prefecture in 1860, Kaichirōhad a keen interest in antique art from a very young age, which he never lost after he moved to Tokyo, where he became a successful businessman, a politician and a philantropist. In the capital, he was very active in collecting pieces of art and he also took on tea ceremony. Kaichirō did not see his collection as a private treasure trove, but rather a joy to be sharedwith the general public. 
 
After Kaichirō’s sudden death, his son and heir Kaichirō II established a foundation to preserve the collection in 1940. The following year, he opened the Nezu Museum in its current location, which used to be the Nezu family residence. A great part of it, including the galleries, garden, and teahouse, were lost to fire in 1945 during World War II, but the museum was renovated in 1954 and expanded twice, firstly in 1964 and secondly in 1991, to commemorate the 50thanniversary of its founding.
 
Opened in 2009, the new building was designed by Kengo Kuma– one of Japan’s most representative architects – and consists of two storeys above the ground and one below, covered by a large roof.
 
The museum’s collection, which was quite large at its start, holding 4,642 works, has been expanded to approximately 7,400 pieces. These include seven National Treasures, 87 Important Cultural Properties, and 94 Important Art Objects. Centred around the Japanese and East Asian antiquities collected by Kaichirō, the exhibition includes the beautiful tea wareshe accumulated under the tea name of “Seizan”, and works by painter Ogata Kōrin and his brother, potter Ogata Kenzan.
 
Within the large garden stand four tearooms and Nezucafé, an open-style café surrounded by glass on three sides, where visitors can sit and relax, enjoying their drink and the view.
 

Author : The Slowear Journal

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Tokyo  | Nezu Museum  | art  | culture  | tea ceremony  |

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