The Beauty of Exchanging Gifts in Japan

International Exhibition in Chiangmai:

The Beauty of Exchanging Gifts in Japan

Giving Shape to One’s Thoughts and Emotions

ChiangMai

[Duration]Sat 6 November – Sun 19 December 2021
[Admission]Free of charge
[Venue]Chiang Mai University Art and Culture Center (CMUACC)
Opening hours Tue – Sun from 9:00-17:00
(Closed on every Monday and public holidays)

* For more information, please visit FB page: Jfbangkok or Cmuacc
* Due to the social distancing policy during covid-19 situation, we limit the number of audiences to visit the exhibition.

Uchikake dress: Design of Penglai Island on white figured silk satin ground, late 18th century

The Japan Foundation, Bangkok, in collaboration with the Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University are very pleased to co-organize the traveling exhibition “The Beauty of Exchanging Gifts in Japan: Giving Shape to One’s Thoughts and Emotions. This exhibition is the newest collection of the Japan Foundation and has remarkably set out its journey to Thailand as the first destination country in the world, started in Bangkok and then to Khonkaen during March – June 2021. Currently, the journey continues its passage and will travel to Chiangmai. The exhibition will take place at Chiang Mai University Art and Culture Center (CMUACC) from  November 6th to December 19th and give its last farewell to Thailand before heading to the next destination.

Curated by Nagasaki Iwao, Director of Kyoritsu Women’s University Museum and Professor of Department of Textiles and Clothing, this exhibition showcases the formalities and  rituals of gift exchanging in Japan by revealing the characteristics, beauty, and variety of gifts exchanged and presented, along with the thoughts and philosophies of the Japanese people that exist behind them.

In Japan, the exchanging of gifts is not simply an act of giving something to someone but an expression of gratitude or wishing for the happiness of the receiver. The pattern, design, color, material and method of producing the gift bestowed all reflect the giver’s thoughts and feelings towards the receiver. Why do the bride’s parents give the shiromuku, pure white kimono, with kissho patterns which feature motifs of a bamboo, pine, plum tree, somethimes with crane and turtle, to their daughther? Why do Japanese people use Fukusa and Furoshiki for wrapping gifts? How do Japanese parents treat their new born babies and children while wishing for their healthy growth? Why do haori and hanten jackets, the Japanese short winter coat,  have crest or sign on them and what are they for?

The answers to the questions lie in this exhibition as more than 90 exhibits are divided into four parts to visually present shapes to the giver’s thoughts and emotions of Japanese people during their major stages of life, including

Part 1: Various Gifts related to Wedding: Costumes and implements prepared for wedding ceremonies and the gifts presented during the celebrations serve to reflect the spirit of praying for happiness of the bride.

Part 2: The Heart and Art of Gift-wrapping Fukusa and Furoshiki: The Japanese spirit in the act of “gift-wrapping” as well as the Japanese aesthetic is spoken through nemerous patterns and designs.

Part 3: Gifts from Parents to Children: The gifts from parents to children unveil their affection and wishes for wellbeing and healthy growth towards their children in the context of Japanese culture.

Part 4:  Exchanging Gifts to Strengthen Bonds: Gifts given and exchanged are to strengthen or confirm group bonds such as those in a master and servent relationship, employer and employee or residents within the same region or community.

Maiwai: Design of treasure boat on   navy cotton ground,  early 20th century

We hope the exhibition will serve as an opportunity for viewers to engage with and understand the manner by which the “sense of harmony with nature” and “strong connections between people” that together form the foundation of Japanese culture, are embodied in the rituals of gift exchanging in Japan.

Part 1: Various Gifts related to Wedding

Uchikake dress Design of Penglai Island on red silk crepe ground, early 20th
Yogi Design of pine tree and crane on light blue silk crepe ground, early 19th century
Set of sake cups and stand for wedding ceremony Design of ground on black lacquer, late 19th century to early 20th century

Part 2: The Heart and Art of Gift-wrapping Fukusa and Furoshiki

Fukusa (wrapping cloth for ceremony) Design of wave, anchor and plover on red silk crepe ground early 19th
Fukusa Design of pine tree, cranes and the sun on light brown ground, 20th century
Fukusa Design of treasure boat on yellowish green silk crepe ground, 19th century

Part 3: Gifts from Parents to Children

Cap and Bib Design of paulownia and phoenix on white silk crepe ground, 20th century
Hitotsumi (child’s dress) Design of chrysanthemum on gray silk crepe ground, late 19th century
Child’s identification tag Design of Daikokuten (god of wealth) on silk crepe ground, early 20th century

Part 4:  Exchanging Gifts to Strengthen Bonds:

Maiwai (fisherman’s ceremonial coat) Design of “Sanbaso” performance on navy cotton ground, early 20th century
Yukata of Kabuki actor Onoe Kikugoro  Design of Kikugoro grid, 21th century
Leather coat Design of letter “Kubo” on brown ground, late 19th century

The Japan Foundation, Bangkok
10th Fl. Serm-Mit Tower, 159 Sukhumvit 21 Rd., Bangkok 10110, Thailand Facebook: jfbangkok  |  Website: www.jfbkk.or.th

For PR photos and other inquiries, please contact: acdept@jfbkk.or.th

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