Tag: Japan

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More Than Meets the Eye: Transformers, me and the MoC

Ironhide, the Autobots' second in command, shown transformed with his 'battle sled'. Museum no. B.105-1994, Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron, a metallic world riven by aeons of civil war between Heroic Autobots and Evil Decepticons. The differences between these two factions are absolute: Autobots are peace-loving, kind and curious about humanity; Decepticons are bellicose, authoritarian and contemptuous of other lifeforms. Transformers came to Earth by accident: […]

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Dialogues in Clay

Toshiko Takaezu throwing closed form. Photo: Stanley Yake

This post was written by Susan Newell, a second-year student on the V&A/RCA MA in History of Design, who works part-time in the V&A’s Ceramics and Glass Department. A diminutive woman stands on a spindly ladder next to the enormous pot she is making. She pinches its rim with one hand, deftly wielding a paddle […]

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Toshiba Gallery – From Renovation to Innovation

Japanese print by Shigenobu (Hiroshige II) depicting Nakano Street in the Yoshiwara district of Edo (Tokyo) during cherry blossom season.

The Japanese concept of ‘mono no aware’ is central to Japanese aesthetics. It is usually translated as ‘the pathos of things’ and is used to describe the beauty of the ephemeral. The cherry blossom, which blooms for only a few weeks, is highly valued in Japan because of its transience. It is fitting that as […]

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Clogs perfect for Christmas

geta fur1

The traditional simple wooden clog, called geta, comprise of a raised wooden base and fabric thong to keep the foot well elevated above the ground. They look a little bit like wooden flip flops on stilts. The geta, worn in Japan by both women and men with clothing such as the kimono, originally had a practical function; elevating […]

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Too Much Is Not Enough: Attitudes Toward Accumulation and Hoarding in Japan

One of Dr. Gygi’s hoarding subjects in Tokyo. © Fabio Gygi, 2014

by EVE ZAUNBRECHER The popularity of reality TV shows such as Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive have introduced hoarding into popular culture and have raised interesting debates about rampant consumerism and the politics of mental health disorders. Hoarders, once dismissed as ‘pack rats’ or ‘messies’, have now been located on the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder spectrum […]

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Out On Display #4: Akio Takamori and ‘Queer Objects’

Aiko Takamori vase

Vase Akio Takamori USA, glazed stoneware, 1985 C.59-1986 On display in room 142   The contemporary Japanese-American ceramicist Akio Takamori creates pieces which draw upon traditional Japanese forms to represent the human body in a variety of whimsical and unsettling positions. This vase, in the shape of a flattened oval, represents two nude women embracing […]

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On Tour: Japanese Cloisonné

Japanese Treasures: Cloisonné enamels from the V&A, curated by V&A Senior Curator Gregory Irvine. What is Japanese Cloisonné? The characters for the word ‘shippo’, the Japanese term for enamels, mean ‘Seven Treasures’, which is a reference to the Seven Treasures mentioned in Buddhist texts. The Japanese applied this expression to the rich colours found on […]

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The Helmet

The helmet was treated by Andy Thackeray, an intern in Furniture Conservation. He describes his treatment below. – Cracked and lifting lacquer on the iron substrate rim of the helmet bowl, and where lifting from the iron supporting bars of the neck plates (ita jikoro), were consolidated with an application of xylene followed by a 10% solution of Paraloid B48N in xylene. If moving they were clamped either by lightweight clamps or using a shimbari system. Cracked and lifting lacquer on the leather substrate of the ita jikoro plates was consolidated with 10% and where appropriate, 20% Mowilith 50 in …

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The head and arms

The head and arms of the Iki-ningyo were treated by Sofia Marques in sculpture conservation and Richard Mulholland in paper conservation. It appears that there is a very fine top layer applied to the flesh colour. This is possibly known as ‘nikawa’ and is made of animal glue and fine pigments. It is water soluble. The layer on the face of this living doll seems to have been disturbed, possibly during attempts to clean the surface in the past. Any intervention will disturb this layer, so it was decided not to touch it after all. Although it would have been …

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Sleeves

The sleeve on the armour was in the worst condition (in terms of the textiles) of all the pieces that made up the armour, and required the most intricate treatment. The silk damask was very brittle and had begun to split. In some areas the fibres had been lost altogether and the metal thread was also very brittle. The conservation challenge was to stabilise these areas but with limited access to the inside of the sleeve, all of the support fabric would have to be inserted through the split. This is where having a steady hand comes in very useful! …

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