KINDRED SPIRITS brought together for the first time a broad spectrum of American Shaker and Japanese crafts representing their rich regional traditions. It featured approximately 200 of the finest objects used in American Shaker and Japanese daily life, including furniture, textiles, baskets, tools, and domestic utensils made of wood, metal, paper, lacquer, and natural fibers. The exhibition revealed the extraordinary similarities within these two contrasting cultures. They shared standards of excellence in making objects for daily use, resulting from skilled and sensitive use of natural materials, and a reverence for the work of human hands.
The exhibition, including its related public programs and national tour, was organized by Mingei International Museum and made possible by a major grant from The Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. The exhibition was funded in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program.
The Mingei International documentary exhibition publication, KINDRED SPIRITS, was funded by a grant from the Japan Foundation, a grant from Joanne and Frank Warren, and the revolving publication funds of Seymour E. Clonick and Sydney Martin Roth. The documentary publication includes a prologue by June Sprigg, foreward by Martha W. Longenecker, and commentary by William Thrasher. The Mingei International exhibition documentary videotape was made possible by an anonymous foundation.
KINDRED SPIRITS was based on a major loan from Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Other objects in the exhibition were from The Art Complex Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, The Fruitlands Museums, Kitamaesen Museum and the Kaga City Board of Education, Mingei International Museum, Mingeikan/Tokyo, The Peabody Essex Museum, The Western Reserve Historical Society and Library and private collections.
The exhibition traveled to The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida, and the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts.