[ISEHAN HONTEN] Co-starring Komachi Beni and Kutani Ware. An exhibition of works featuring beautiful traditional craftworks.
Komachi Beni, a traditional lipstick derived from the rare safflower, was an object of admiration amongst chic Edo women.
Founded in Kobunacho, Nihonbashi in Bunsei 8, “Isehan Honten” is the only remaining “beni shop” from the Edo period, and continues to preserve the “beni” tradition as it was made in the old days.
Komachi Beni, which is made by a process handed down orally and finished with great care, has an iridescent shimmer, and when dissolved in water with a brush, it instantly reveals its vivid red hues. Quite how it is so iridescent remains a mystery to this day, nearly 200 years after its establishment. In the “Beni Museum,” visitors can experience the wonder and brilliance of beni, and learn about the techniques involved in making beni that have been handed down since the company’s establishment, as well as the history of cosmetics and cultural changes in the industry.
The Isehan head office not only passes on the history of beni to future generations, but is also committed to activities that convey the traditional techniques of various regions of Japan. The “Handicraft Gallery” in the Beni Museum is one such activity. The museum holds special exhibitions from time to time to introduce activities to preserve traditional techniques for the future and efforts to restore traditional techniques that no longer exist, along with their works of art, with a focus on traditional Japanese crafts.
(Clockwise from front: Komachi Beni, Hana-gasumi (purple), Komachi Beni, Haku-kacho, Komachi Beni, Hana-gasumi (blue)
The current exhibition, “5 colors – Beautiful Kutaniyaki Potters” introduces up-and-coming artists who have taken on the challenge of exploring new expressions while preserving the traditions of kutaniyaki, the traditional colored porcelain of which Ishikawa Prefecture is proud. The works on display and for sale are highly individual, reflecting the sensibility of each artist, while based on the traditional five colors (green, yellow, purple, navy blue, and red) and traditional techniques.
In conjunction with this special exhibition, Komachi Beni vessels, created in collaboration between the ISEHAN main shop and various artists, are also on sale. Some depict a graphical pattern of butterflies and flowers on a transparent white porcelain base, some a deep blue world, while others feature several kinds of gold-trimmed flowers aloft in the air. Each of these “one-of-a-kind” pieces, which reflect the artist’s thoughts and creative techniques, are specially coated with iridescent Komachi Beni (red).
Kutani ware is quintessential Japanese porcelain, and the same production method for Komachi Beni has been handed down since the Edo period. Through these masterpieces, which remain beloved to this day thanks to the strong will and fastidious workmanship of these artists and craftsmen, you will be able to experience firsthand the depth and potential of traditional Japanese craftsmanship.
Dates: September 5 (Tuesday) – October 14 (Saturday), 2023
First period: September 5 (Tue) – September 23 (Sat) Nishino Mika, Hayasuke Chiharu
Second period: September 26 (Tue) – October 14 (Sat) Aikawa Shiho, Kawada Satomi, Seki Azusa
Hours: 10:00-17:00 (last admission: 30 minutes before closing)
Closed: Sundays and Mondays
Talks and hands-on painting classes are also held.
Only a few seats remain.
For more information, please clickhere.