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National Museum of Asian Art Lecture on Japanese Contemporary Metalware

Osumi Yukie (born 1945), Wave Crests, 2008, silver with gold and lead inlay, Bequest of Shirley Z. Johnson, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Sneak Peek—Refined Elements: Japanese Metalwork from the Shirley Z. Johnson Collection
National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution

Presented by Curator Sol Jung
Online lecture, Tuesday, April 12, 12-12:40pm

The history of Japanese metalworking evolved over two millennia through cultural exchange and internal innovation. Techniques unique to Japan flourished as metalworkers created armaments, Buddhist ornaments, and vessels used in Japanese tea practice. Traditional metalworking survives into the present in works by Japanese studio artists, who have continued to employ time-honored methods while innovating Japanese metalwork design. In this talk, curator Sol Jung examines modern and contemporary Japanese metalwork from the bequest of Shirley Z. Johnson (1940–2021), a distinguished lawyer, philanthropist, and former board member of the National Museum of Asian Art. This bequest focuses primarily on postwar works that represent the rich tradition of Japanese metalworking techniques (such as casting, hammering, soldering, and inlay) through which artists combine and refine silver, gold, copper, and lead to stunning effect.

Sol Jung is the Shirley Z. Johnson Assistant Curator of Japanese Art at the National Museum of Asian Art. She specializes in Japanese art history with a focus on how transnational maritime trade impacted Japan’s visual culture during the premodern period. This talk is part of the monthly lunchtime series Sneak Peek: New Research from the National Museum of Asian Art, where staff members present brief, personal perspectives and ongoing research, followed by discussion. In 2022, the series will focus on collecting practices and the collections of the National Museum of Asian Art.

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