The Seven Treasures: Japanese Enamels from the Victoria and Albert Museum
17 May 2014 – 31 August 2014
Palace Green Library
This exhibition presented a complete picture of one of Japan’s most exquisite art forms, Cloisonné, featuring exquisite enamels on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Cloisonné is a form of enamelling an object where fine wires are used to outline the decorative areas and enamel paste is applied before firing and polishing. The Japanese term for enamelware directly translates as Seven Treasures, a reference from Buddhist texts. These treasures have been interpreted widely to be precious materials whose intrinsic qualities are reflected in cloisonné enamels.
The craft underwent a renaissance in the middle of the 19th century, not long before Japan reopened to foreign trade and the Samurai were replaced by Imperial government. Cloisonné quickly became one of Japan’s most successful exports.
The Japanese enamels in this exhibition are from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and were shown with loans from collections within the North East, and objects from Durham University’s Collections, to present a complete picture of one of Japan’s most exquisite art forms.
Exhibition organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, with generous support from Edwin Davies, CBE.