Shiki: Four Seasons in Japanese Art, Jan. 30-Apr. 11, 2021

Shiki: The Four Seasons in Japanese Art considers the aesthetic expression of the seasons in Japan.

Japan Anonymous, Kimono (Woman’s Robe), 1920-1940, silk, 57 in. x 53 in., Scripps College, Claremont, CA

Shiki: The Four Seasons in Japanese Art
Jan. 30-Apr. 11, 2021
Williamson Gallery, Scripps College

The power of nature and its many beauties, emerging one by one as the year unfolds, are revered in Japan—so much so that, over centuries, the Japanese have created a poetic vocabulary of seasonal motifs that feature prominently in literature, art and daily life. Cherry blossoms, irises, red maple leaves and snow: each communicates the moods of its given season. Enhancing Japanese paintings and prints, these motifs decorate clothing and homes as well. They even inspire many of the country’s annual festivals, entertainment and travel. This fall, the Williamson Gallery celebrates that rich tradition with the exhibition, Shiki: The Four Seasons in Japanese Art, on view from Jan. 30 through Apr. 11, 2021.

Drawn from the Scripps College’s abundant collections of Japanese paintings, prints, ceramics, lacquer wares, metalwork and textiles, the exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to see rare pieces of exquisite craftsmanship and high drama. The show is curated by Meher McArthur, Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Curator of Academic Programs and Collections. McArthur, a specialist in Japanese art, stresses the enduring presence of these symbols: “From the most elaborate folding screen embellished with purple irises to a small teacup painted with a single maple leaf,” notes McArthur, “such seasonal references are an integral part of the cultural and emotional lives of the Japanese people.”

After Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, during exhibitions, the Williamson is open from Wed. through Sun., noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call (909) 607-3397.


Object-based Art Workshops:
Understanding Japanese Art

While Four Seasons is on view, exhibition curator Meher McArthur will lead six object-based workshops in the Williamson Gallery. Similar to McArthur’s regular “Quick Bite of Art” series, these workshops will take place at noon once a week for six weeks. Meher will spotlight specific art works in the exhibition and introduce other similar objects for closer handling and discussion. These 30-minute workshops will be open to students of the five colleges, faculty and staff. The list of workshops is as follows:

  • Movable Paintings: Understanding Japanese Folding Screens and Hanging Scrolls
  • Wearable Works of Art: Understanding the Japanese Kimono
  • Publishing Art for the People: Understanding Japanese Woodblock Prints
  • Stoneware above Porcelain: Understanding Japanese Ceramics
  • Beauty in a Protective Coating: Understanding Japanese Lacquer
  • Coloring within the Lines: Understanding Japanese Cloisonné


Slider Image: Hosai Bando Kunimasa, Kabuki under Maple Leaves, 1899, woodblock print, 14 in. x 28 in., Aoki Endowment

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