April 15, 2023–March 3, 2024
At times overlooked, the fabric mountings that surround East Asian paintings are often carefully calibrated additions that not only provide structural support but also enhance our appreciation of a work’s subject and meaning. In Japan, different mounting styles have evolved over time. Within this rich tradition, patrons, artists, scroll mounters, and collectors also developed individual styles, choosing the materials and formats to mount artworks according to their taste. As part of the National Museum of Asian Art’s centennial celebrations, this exhibition will explore a range of developments in this evolving tradition by highlighting the work of several generations of mounter-conservators at the museum.
The story begins with founder Charles Lang Freer, who developed a distinct personal aesthetic for remounting his East Asian paintings. Freer hired two brothers from a family of mounters in Kyoto, Japan, to undertake this project. Extant examples of their work as well as sample books and memorabilia from their travels across the United States will be on display. Subsequent generations of specialists at the museum have continued this evolving practice. We invite you to explore these mountings and their relationship not only to the artworks displayed in this exhibition but also to Chinese and Japanese works throughout the museum so that you can appreciate such artistry during future visits.
A Buddhist monk's stole (kesa), Japan, Edo period, 1615–1868, silk, Gift of Charles Lang Freer, Freer Gallery of Art, F1916.663
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