THE BEAUTY OF USE – Mingei International Museum at 30 celebrated the timeless beauty of folk art, craft and design from all eras and cultures. The Museum’s 30th anniversary exhibition, featuring handmade objects of daily use from many cultures across the world, encouraged visitors to discover with fresh eyes the beauty in tools, utensils, currency, clothing and adornment, jewelry, furniture and ritual and ceremonial objects. Masterworks from the Museum’s permanent collection, now numbering 17,500 objects from 141 countries, were on view, exemplifying the universal and timeless nature of mingei – art of the people.

Variously and elegantly executed, even the most mundane objects please the eye and satisfy the spirit. A series of doors from several cultures opened the exhibition to viewers. THE BEAUTY OF USE featured a collection of 19th century African tribal currency, each piece surprisingly ornate; a group of masks including an opulent example of Amazonian feather work; ritual objects such as an intricately carved elephant-headed god Ganesha from India; a monumental Plains Indian basket; and a Sicilian donkey cart covered with brightly painted historical and mythological motifs.

The exhibition was funded in part by Jo Bobbie MacConnell and Guy Showley, The City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and The County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program and Community.

Collection Source: Mingei International Museum


On View: Jun 24, 2007 - Apr 30, 2008

More Exhibitions


Indonesian Shadow Puppets

An intimate exhibition in the Museum’s Theater Gallery featuring a selection of shadow puppets from Indonesia.

July 19, 2017 - March 18, 2018Closes soon



Recycled and Embroidered Textiles of Bengal

Featuring approximately 40 kantha (decorative stitched quilting made from recycled sari) from the Museum's permanent collection.

October 28, 2017 - March 25, 2018Closes soon


Weaving a Path

Navajo Women and the Feminine Ethos

December 9, 2017 - May 20, 2018


Voluminous Art

Treasures from San Diego's University Libraries

March 10, 2018 - September 3, 2018