Seminar on Japanese lacquer art

Saturday 25 November 2017

Seminar on Japanese lacquer art

Symposium - Topics in Japanese Lacquer Art

Saturday, 25 November 2017, Leiden

Organized by the Heinz Kaempfer Fund.

The Heinz Kaempfer Fund cordially invites the members of the Society for Japanese Arts and their partners to participate in a symposium on a variety of topics in Japanese lacquer art. Lectures will be given by leading experts in the field from both Europe and Japan.

The symposium will be organized in conjunction with the exhibition Modern Japanese Lacquerware in the Japanmuseum SieboldHuis in Leiden.



(Language: English)

12:15-13:00   Registration at the desk of the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden
13:00-13:05   Welcome by Jan Dees, chairman Heinz Kaempfer Fund

13:05-13:35   Julia Hutt: On the Origin of Inrō
13:35-14:05   Menno Fitski: The Amsterdam Chest or the Batavia Chest?
14:05-14:35   Dave van Gompel: Between Progress and Preservation: the Difficult Future of Japanese Lacquer.

14:35-15:05   Coffee/tea break

15:05-15:35   Monika Kopplin: Japanese Chinoiserie in French Lacquer Furniture
15:35-16:05   Yoshie Itani: A Reevaluation of Yamazaki Kakutarō

16:05-16:30   Panel discussion
16:30-16:55   Closing Ceremony 
16:55-17:00   Closing Remarks by Arisumi Mitamura

17:00-18:00   Drinks

Venue: Grand auditorium on the first floor of the Museum Volkenkunde, Steenstraat 1, Leiden

Japanese lacquer art

Japanese lacquer art in its various expressions is a unique form of the applied arts, with a history of several thousand years. The specific properties of the material urushi, the genius of the craftsmen to master it, and the Japanese sense of beauty constitute the elements of this miraculous art.
The topics highlighted at this symposium were chosen by the lecturers themselves according to their present interests.


At the exhibition Modern Japanese Lacquerware, the Japanmuseum SieboldHuis will feature eleven sublime works by eleven lacquer artists from all over the country. Most artists are teaching at the academies of Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa or Wajima. Their works show a wide variety in shape (from boxes to sculptures) and techniques (from sprinkled designs to shell inlay and carved lacquer).
From September 16th until November 26th

Open daily from 10:00 till 17:00 hrs. (except on Monday)

On Saturday, November 25th lacquer demonstrations will be given from 10:00 till 11:30 hrs.









Dr. Jan Dees is co-founder and chairman of the Heinz Kaempfer Fund. In 2007, he was granted a PhD for his studies on Japanese lacquer art between 1890 and 1950.




Menno Fitski is Curator of East Asian Art at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. He published several papers on the Amsterdam chest, a major recent acquisition and a highlight in Japanese export lacquer.




Dave van Gompel is a Dutch furniture conservator and art historian, who is currently finalizing his PhD studies in Japanese lacquer at Tokyo University of Arts.




Julia Hutt is Curator of Japanese art in the East Asian Department of the Victoria & Albert museum, specialising in Japanese lacquer. She is currently working on a publication on Japanese lacquer based on the museum's internationally renowned collection.



Dr. Yoshie Itani is Project Professor at Tokyo University of Arts. She was granted a PhD in Oxford for her thesis on export porcelain, but has been focussing on the relationship between Japanese urushi and European 'japanning' since eleven years.



Dr. Monika Kopplin has been Director of the Museum of Lacquer Art in Münster since 1993. She authored numerous books and articles on East Asian, European and Russian lacquer. In 2017, she received the title of Professor by the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia.



Arisumi Mitamura is Honorary Professor of the Tokyo University of Arts, and was previously the head of the Urushi Department. He is a tireless promotor of lacquer art, not only in his own country, but equally in East Asia, Indochina, Europe and the USA.




Symposium Committee:

Jan Dees, chairman
Kees Berbee
Nadia Keijzer
Nicole Tolman

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