JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, a Japanese cultural destination in the heart of Hollywood, unveils the launch of its newest exhibition “NATURE/SUPERNATURE: Visions of This World and Beyond in Japanese Woodblock Prints.” Highlighting Japan’s iconic natural landscapes and supernatural beings believed to inhabit them, the exhibition features more than sixty woodblock prints from the Scripps College collection by some of Japan’s finest artists. The exhibition will be available via an online experience, complete with a virtual tour, welcome video message and related programs, starting February 15.
The Japanese have long revered their natural landscape, celebrating its bounty and the beauty of the changing seasons in art, literature, travel and festivals. The power of nature is a central theme in Japanese culture, rooted in the belief that supernatural forces and beings are at work in all aspects of the natural realm. Depending on how humans behave toward nature and toward each other, these forces can be benign and bountiful, angry and destructive, or cause floods, earthquakes, pestilence and other types of damage.
“We start the new year with an exhibition that honors the natural environment of Japan and depicts how people lived in awe and appreciation of nature and supernatural power believed to reside in nature,” said Yuko Kaifu, president, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles. “I hope that it inspires visitors to take a closer look at these ancient beliefs that are still relevant to the Japanese way of living today.”
The Nature/Supernature exhibition will feature three areas. The Woodblock Printing area introduces the history and process of Japanese woodblock printing, including very early examples of Japanese printed images, as well as woodblocks, printing tools, pigments and a set of prints illustrating how a full-color print is made.
The Nature area includes prints depicting beauty spots in and around the capital of Edo (modern Tokyo) near Mt. Fuji and four other regions: Nikko, Kyoto, the Seto Inland Sea and Nagano. These beautiful landscape prints are by some of Japan’s most famous artists: Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912), Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) and Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950).
The Supernature area explores some of the spiritual and supernatural beings believed to inhabit and influence nature and human lives. These include images of deities worshipped for centuries to ensure bountiful harvests, protection from floods and other calamities as well as supernatural animals, trickster spirits, ghosts and demons. These lively prints were designed by artists including Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864), Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) and Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889).
For more information, visit the JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles website. The opening day of the physical gallery at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles will be announced on a later date, following guidance by local governments and the local health department.
* Note: Japanese names in this exhibition are written in the traditional Japanese order, with the family name first and personal name last.