Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Eat Japan: Japanese Prints on Food – through Oct 26

Pavilion for Japanese Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Museum hours:

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 12 noon – 8 pm

Friday 12 noon – 9 pm

Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 8 pm

Closed Wednesdays

For further information about Japanese art exhibitions at LACMA, call (323) 857-6565.  www.lacma.org

LACMA Eat Japan Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (Japan, 1839-1892) Looking Weighed Down: The Manner of a Waitress at Fukagawa in the Tenpo Era (Omota-so: Tenpo nenkan Fukagawa karuko no fuzoko) 1888, 10th month, Color woodblock print. Image: 13 11/16 x 9 7/16 in. (34.77 x 23.97 cm); Sheet: 13 3/4 x 9 7/16 in. (34.93 x 23.97 cm) Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Arthur and Fran Sherwood. Photograph © 2010 Museum Associates/LACMA

Eat Japan: Japanese Prints on Food

through October 26, 2010

Japanese food is a balance of colors, textures, tastes, scents and seasonality. While rice forms the bulk of the Japanese diet, choices of accompanying fish, fruits, and vegetables change with the seasons, and it is the seasons around which many rituals of life are based.

Celebrations of New Years, plum and then cherry blossom viewing, children’s festivals, rice transplantation, a summer meeting of constellations, visits by ghostly ancestors in late summer, moon viewing in early autumn, blooming chrysanthemums, harvest, and the death of the year form mark the passage of life.

All are opportunities for the enjoyment of sake (rice wine) and gastronomic delicacies, often out of doors.

Since the 2nd century C.E., rice cultivation has been practiced in Japan. During the Edo Period (1615-1868), fief lords (daimyo) were assigned territories based upon the amount of rice produced there, and samurai retainers were paid in rice.

The expanding wealth and patronage of merchants in the Edo period resulted in the growth of licensed entertainment quarters in the large cities. There, tea houses and restaurants, where clients met with entertainers (geisha) or courtesans, gained fame.

As a ritual gathering among like-minded people, tea ceremony (chanoyu) became an artistic and social practice among men from the 16th century onwards, and evolved into a polite art encouraged among educated women from the 1870s onwards. This highly choreographed ritual is practiced in special tea rooms or houses set within small, finely manicured gardens that help to create their peaceful ambiance.

Japanese Painting: Paragons to Paramours

through October 26, 2010                                                                                  

Folding screens and hanging scrolls from the permanent collection focusing on figural subjects are installed in conjunction with the Eat LACMA exhibition.

Some paintings include foods such as rice and tea central to the daily life, celebrations, and rituals within Japanese society.

The wealth of figure painting genres is represented in the exhibition, as court or vernacular poets, skilled entertainers and courtesans, farmers and gentlemen of leisure, or cultural and military heroes present fascinations of the patron of pre-modern Japanese painting.

The Bushell Netsuke Collection: Urban Life in the Edo Period (1615-1868)

through September 7, 2010

By the middle of the 19th century, Japan’s capital city, Edo (modern-day Tokyo) bustled with activity. The city supported the ruling class of fief lords and attendant samurai as well as innumerable merchants, artists, and craftsmen who operated stores or workshops, or peddled their wares on the crowded streets.

Food carts, vendors of sweets, and workers transporting foods to market gathered on major routes, at bridge crossings, or at other heavily traveled arteries in the city.

Egg testers, porters, and rat catchers provided services rather than goods. The streets and river banks of Edo served as the stage for many itinerant entertainers including contortionists, acrobats, monkey trainers, and storytellers.

Likewise, individuals from the edges of society could be seen traveling these thoroughfares including blind people, priests, drunkards, and travelers.