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Now on View
Museum Collection Exhibition
Listening to Paintings: Rain, Wind, Bird Songs, and Human Voices
July 30, Thursday- September 6, Sunday, 2015
Closed Mondays
Hours 10 am to 5 pm
(entrance closed at 4:30 pm)
General admission Adult 1000 yen, Student 800 yen
Gallery 1
 It is delightful to look at paintings and imagine the sounds suggested by the scenes we see in them. We see a bird-and-flower painting and hear birds chirping, their beaks wide open. An ink painting of a dragon and tiger evokes roaring winds and clouds engendered by their mysterious powers. In landscape paintings, we hear the sounds of driving rain and waterfalls. In pictures of famous places, we hear the clatter of the busy crowds. Chinese literati used to enjoy what they called woyou, reclining pleasure, enjoying a landscape painting by lying down, indoors, and imagining exploring the actual landscape. If we can clear our minds and enter into paintings, we too can hear the colorful medley of sounds they inspire.
 Listen to a painting; you will find yourself discovering compelling new delights in it.

Gallery Exhibits

Mountain Stream in Summer and Autumn By Suzuki Kiitsu
Japan Edo period, 19th century Nezu Museum
Do you hear the babbling of the stream that runs through this Japanese cypress forest and the voice of the lone cicada perched on one of the tree trunks? This work proclaims the strange fascination of capturing a single moment in the flow of time, as though all sound were deliberately erased. This powerful work is by the Edo Rinpa school artist Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858).
Dragon and Tiger By Sesson Shukei
Japan Muromachi period, 16th century Nezu Museum
It has been said, since ancient times, that a dragon’s groan stirs up clouds and a tiger’s roar provokes wind. Sesson Shukei (1504-89?), an artist active during the turbulent sixteenth century in a community far from the capital, was known as a man who distinguished himself in eccentric ways. Here he has added water rising up in fierce waves in this powerful composition that evokes a ferocious roar.
Important Cultural Property Lake Dongting and the Red Cliff By Ike no Taiga
Japan Edo period, dated 1771 Private collection/dd>
Ike no Taiga (1723–1776), a Japanese master of literati painting, based this brilliantly imagined painting of a famous Chinese landscape he had never seen on a sketch in a woodblock-printed book. Viewers who playfully allow themselves to enter this world will find it filled with the sounds of water and everyday life.
Court Dances By Kusumi Morikage
Japan Edo period, 17th century Nezu Museum
This pair of six-panel screens depicts traditional performances of music and dance at the court. On the right we see dancers performing the Taiheiraku, a dance for four performers. On the left are two dancers performing Nasori, and one performing Raryōō. They invite us to hear the elegant music. The artist, Kusumi Morikage, was one of the most outstanding disciples of Kanō Tanyū (1602-1674), one of the foremost early Edo period (early seventeenth century) Kanō school artists.