Japanese art forms the core of the Museum’s mingei holdings, with more than 3,000 items.

Highlights

Tea Bowl (chawan)

2000 Japan

Master potter Tatsuzō Shimaoka created the textured patterning on this stoneware tea bowl by impressing rope into the damp clay prior to firing the piece in the kiln.

Beckoning Cats (maneki neko)

20th Century Japan

These charming beckoning cats are not waving hello, but are giving a sign that one’s fortune could change.

Two-Handled Baskets (akebi zuru)

Fourth quarter of the 20th century Japan

Woven akebi vine. The akebi vine is softened with water from hot springs until it becomes soft and pliable.

Ainu Prayer Sticks (ikupasuy)

Mid 19th Century Japan

The indigenous Ainu of Hokkaido in Northern Japan used these wooden, sacred objects as a medium to send prayers to gods or spirits.

Japanese Votive Plaque (ema)

20th century Japan

This small wooden plaque would have been left at a Shinto or Buddhist shrine as a prayer. Supplicants believed that the octopus, with its many small suckers, could cure warts and various diseases and would give up eating it in exchange for recovery.

Sleeping Garment (yogi)

19th century Meiji Period Japan

The bold lobster and wave design on this indigo dyed yogi was created using the traditional tsutsugaki rice paste resist technique.