ASIAN ART STORIES: Latvia and Japan: A Hundred Years of Friendship. Personalities and Bequests
image
An exhibition Latvia and Japan: A Hundred Years of Friendship. Personalities and Bequests within the exhibition series Asian Art Stories will be on view from 19 November 2021 until 30 January 2022 at the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE in Riga (Doma laukums 6). Exhibition introduces the history of bilateral relations between Latvia and Japan, the activities of the first Latvian government’s diplomatic representative in Kobe Jānis Andrejs Ozoliņš and two bequests of Japanese art to the museum.

In 1919, Japan was one of the first nations which extended de facto recognition to Latvia’s recently gained independence, but in 1921, together with other member countries of the Supreme Council of Allied Powers (United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Italy), recognized Latvia de jure. In the period of Latvia’s independence in the years prior to the World War II, Japan was the only Asian state which had a representation in Latvia.

 

Exhibition showcases two bequests – the first and the last – in total 17 objects that reveal Japanese traditions, skills of the masters, as well as various interactions between religious, philosophical and cultural aspects. First bequest with ten different figurines and a reproduction album with works of famous Japanese artists was sent to the State Museum of Art by professor Ozoliņš in 1921.

 

Teacher, writer and publicist Jānis Andrejs Ozoliņš (1894–1959) was the first Latvian government representative whose work and life was connected with Japan. Ozoliņš lectured in ethics and English literature at Kwansei Gakuin College (1918–1921), was a contributor to the Japan Chronicle newspaper, and from 1920 the Latvian Provisional Government’s Diplomatic and Consular Agent in Kobe. Ozoliņš provided extensive despatches to the Foreign Ministry about the situation in Japan, undertook journalistic and informative work, tried to facilitate trading links between Latvia and Japan. His works on the history of the Latvian people and the newly established Latvian state in English and Japanese languages were invaluable. Ozoliņš’ educational work and his bright personality has not been forgotten even today in Japan. On 20 October 2011, the Kwansei Gakuin University unveiled a commemorative plaque to its Latvian lecturer Jānis Andrejs Ozoliņš and planted Latvian birches and oaks in the garden.

 

Whereas in November 2021, Japan’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Latvia Yasuhiro Kawaguchi’s wife Toshie Kawaguchi made a bequest of seven items – traditional Japanese kimono and its components – an obizōri sandals and a handbag, as well as two kokeshi dolls.

 

Both bequests mark the beginning of the Museum’s collection of Japanese art and its continuality, characterizing the friendly relationship between Latvia and Japan.

 

The exhibition series Asian Art Stories produced by the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE encourages to discover and understand certain artworks, techniques, functions as well as their philosophical, religious, cultural, and contextual significance. Western viewers have always been fascinated with the Asian art by its extraordinary form, technique and aesthetic view. The Asian Art Collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art has several thousand artworks from different Asian countries, however, only part of them are exhibited in the Asian Art Gallery of the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE. By showing one artwork or a group of objects, within the exhibition series, we discover these exceptional stories that often remain unheard. This time the exhibition is widely dedicated to the history of the collection and the history of diplomatic relations between Latvia and Japan.

 

 

EXHIBITION CURATOR:

Baiba Uburģe, Curator of Foreign Decorative and Applied Arts Collection / Latvian National Museum of Art

Ph: (+371) 67 357531, E: Baiba.Uburge@lnmm.lv

 

EXHIBITION SERIES ASIAN ART STORIES CURATOR:

Kristīne Milere, Exhibition Curator, Art Museum RIGA BOURSE / Latvian National Museum of Art

Ph: (+371) 60 001344, E: Kristine.Milere@lnmm.lv

 

Related exhibitions
news-image
ASIAN ART STORIES: Rakan
From 11 August to 11 October 2020 Japanese okimono figure “Rakan” will be exhibited at the Art Museum RIGAS BOURSE (Doma laukums 6, Riga) as a part of the exhibition series “Asian Art Stories”. Japanese okimono figure "Rakan" tells a story not only about the Buddha's disciples, but also about the interactions between Japan and the Western world, and Latvian artists’ interest regarding Asian art.
news-image
ASIAN ART STORIES: Tea Set
From 20 October to 6 December 2020, Chinese porcelain Tea Set will be exhibited at the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE in Riga (Doma laukums 6) as a part of the exhibition series Asian Art Stories. The tea set was sent from Shanghai in 1935 and it is decorated with two important Chinese mythical creatures – dragon and phoenix.
news-image
ASIAN ART STORIES: Pair of Japanese Satsuma Vases
From 15 December 2020 to 29 August 2021, the pair of Satsuma vases will be exhibited at the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE in Riga (Doma laukums 6) as a part of the exhibition series "Asian Art Stories". Satsuma ware is a well-known Japanese export pottery type and these particular vases were one of the first Asian art gifts for the State Museum of Art in the 1920s.
news-image
ASIAN ART STORIES: Chinese Snuff Bottles
From 31 August to 20 October 2021, seven Chinese snuff bottles from agate, jade and glass will be exhibited at the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE in Riga (Doma laukums 6) as a part of the exhibition series “Asian Art Stories”. It is a Chinese art form, which is praised as Chinese art in miniature.
Related press releases