2013 / Clark Center’s Urushi exhibition closing, Dec. 14

Clark Urushi Exhibition

Artist unknown: Writing Box with Chinese Lions Chasing Butterflies. Late 19th/early 20th century. Urushi with mother-of-pearl and gold powder. Gift from The Clark Center for Japanese Arts & Culture to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; formerly given by Mr. F. Bailey Vanderhoef Jr.

Simplicity and Surprise: The Utilitarian Beauty of Japanese Lacquerware

September 1 – December 14, 2013

Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture in Hanford, Calif.

Durable and elegantly beautiful, Japanese lacquerware or Urushi was quite unlike anything that Western traders in the 16th century had ever encountered. Europeans who could afford the expensive ware collected it with a passion, and those who couldn’t copied the unique substance as best they could with varnish and paint, a method known as “japanning.”

The allure of Urushi remains undiminished today, as the forty pieces drawn from the collection of the Clark Center at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the hands of several private collectors demonstrate.

Simplicity and Surprise: The Utilitarian Beauty of Japanese Lacquerware demystifies the decorative techniques used to achieve the glossy black and gold decoration synonymous with Urushi, and introduce its other unique forms.

The exhibit also delves into the myriad usages of Urushi, which ranged from use as food utensils to samurai armor, and illustrates how the wares were incorporated into daily life in Japan through contemporaneous paintings.  

This exhibition is organized under the auspices of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and curated by Clo Pazera, Curatorial Assistant of the Clark Center.

The Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture is located at 15770 Tenth Ave, Hanford, CA 93230. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 1 – 5 pm. Closed on national holidays.

Admissions are $5 for adults, $3 for students and active military service with valid ID. Children 12 and under free.Weekly docent tours are held Saturdays at 1 pm and guided group tours can be arranged by calling the Center in advance at (559) 582-4915.www.ccjac.org