This summer, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens’ will explore the intricate world of craft with two distinct exhibitions: “Samurai Culture: Treasures of South Florida Collections,” and “From a Quiet Place: The Paper Sculptures of Kyoto Hazama.”
- Exhibitions will run from June 3 through August 31 in the museum galleries.
- Admission costs $14 per adult.
- For more information, visit morikami.org.
Curated and organized through the Morikami Museum with various collectors throughout South Florida, “Samurai Culture” takes an in-depth look at samurai from the Edo period (1600-1868) through a collection of samurai suits of armor and weaponry. The waning decades of the sixteenth century saw a large influx of social mobility as samurai culture loosened and individuals not born of the four ancient noble clans (Minamoto, Taira, Fujiwara and Tachibana) began to make names for themselves as warriors, thus entering into the warriors class. After large invasions of the Korean peninsula and China, samurai returned to Japan, establishing military organizations to control their own interests, leading to clashes and dissolution of the ancient shogunate.
After infighting between shoguns of the Sengoku period, central government was restored, with rule stemming from Edo Castle. As warfare ceased and a unified Japan formed at the beginning of the seventeenth century, society returned to a caste system, where only hereditary samurai could carry weaponry. Upheaval in the early seventeenth century led many samurai families to be destroyed or go ronin, but once peace was restored, samurai began shifting from warrior class to bureaucratic and administrative functions within Japanese society. Modernization ultimately led to the abolishment of samurai rights as being the only Japanese armed force by Emperor Meiji for a more modern army.
A collection of paintings and prints depicting samurai life from the Edo and Meiji periods (1868-1912) is also on display. When exhibited alongside the impressive suits of armor and weaponry, it gives museumgoers a better understanding of this bygone era.
Concurrently, the Morikami will be displaying the incredibly intricate paper sculptures of Kyoko Hazama in the exhibition “From a Quiet Place: The Paper Sculptures of Kyoko Hazama,” organized by the Mobilia Gallery. As if pulled from a scene of a Hayao Miyazaki film, Hazama’s sculptures dip into a fantastic realm of anthropomorphic critters commingling with smaller-than-life figurines, which the artist describes as “symbolic self-portrait.” The scenes set suggest stories of nuanced relationships between animals and human.
Mostly depicting female figures, animals or both, her sculptures rarely stand taller than one foot and are made with washi, a traditional Japanese paper meticulously folded and sculpted. Her incredible attention to detail and the texture of washi gives the dolls and animal figures a surprising lifelike appearance that challenges the imagination, especially within context of the sculpture’s scene.
At a crossroads of tradition and expressionism, her sculptures, most notably the female figurines, stem from the traditional craft of Japanese doll-making, where form and practice is valued over self-expressionism. Self-taught, Hazama’s dolls imbue a sense of wonderment and emotional current that lingers just below the surface.