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.


On View: May 21, 1995 - Oct 08, 1995

Curator: William Thrasher

More Exhibitions


Arline Fisch

One of a Kind

Featuring jewelry, body ornaments and a collection of knitted and crocheted wire hanging flowers and sea creatures by internationally-renowned artist, Arline Fisch.

June 17, 2017 - January 7, 2018


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, 2018


Art of the Americas

Pre-Columbian Art from Mingei's Collection

Part of the Getty Center-led initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, this exhibition offers the most comprehensive presentation to date of the Museum’s significant holdings of objects used by people from the ancient cultures of Mexico, Central and South America.

September 16, 2017 - February 18, 2018



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, 2018


Weaving a Path

Navajo Women and the Feminine Ethos

December 9, 2017 - May 20, 2018