japan: there & here
By Patricia Belyea
KYOTO JP Just before I left on this trip, I stopped by Seattle Asian Art Museum to get warmed up. The current exhibit entitled A Fuller View of China, Japan and Korea honors the Fuller family who travelled extensively in Asia a century ago. The Fullers collected enough art to fill a museum—one they founded and endowed in 1931. One of the sons, Dr. Richard E. Fuller, led the Seattle Art Museum for its first 40 years.
I cruised through the halls of Japanese treasures pretty quickly.
It was the collection of netsukes—intricate, charming and rich in folklore—that slowed me down to examine their details.Now here in Kyoto, with a contingent of young Japanese, yesterday Micheal and I visited the Chion-in Temple. Snow flurries and bare winter foliage dampened our interest in the famous garden outside. Instead, I found myself in a series of huge tatami rooms with wondrous lotus murals painted on the sliding panels. The linework, variations in color, and little hidden creatures all inspired me—especially thinking about stitch designs for my quilts.
Today our friends, the Oshimas, took us to Fushimi Inari Shrine—the head shrine of Inari, patron of business. Thousands of vermillion torii gates, donated by Japanese merchants and manufacturers, wind up sacred Mount Inari. Breathtaking best describes the impact of walking up the forest trails canopied by the colorful gates.
Being here makes Japanese art—and me—come alive. Although the Japanese and international tourists mob the major cultural sights annually, it’s magical to be one of the millions.
If you’re thinking about visiting Japan, check out Okan Arts Japan Travel page for tips and recommendations +click here