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Seminars & Symposiums

10th Project Exhibition of the Museum of Osaka University -- Rediscovering "japan"

2010-1-16 (Sat) - 2010-3-30 (Tue)

This exhibition was originally scheduled to end on March 20.

However, it has been extended to March 30 because it is so popular.

Rediscovering "japan"

Re-emerging in modern Japanese chemistry

Wherever you look, you can find examples of lacquer ware, tools and ornamental items.

There was a time when lacquer ware was referred to as "japan" in Europe. Lacquer is a natural resin used as a varnish and obtained from the lacquer tree. Lacquer has had a close relationship with the Japanese over many centuries and has been used for a variety of purposes.

Lacquer, applied in layers, forms an extremely durable coating, protecting the article and was used when making statues of Buddha and armor for warriors.

Japanese lacquer is a black or red. Its beautiful gloss and decorative technologies such as Maki-e (decorating the surface with gold or silver powder), Raden (decorating the surface with mother-of-pearl, abalone, ivory, and other shells), and Tsuishu (carving the surface of lacquer mixed with oil) are used to produce beautiful crafts. The Makie at Kodaiji Temple created in the Momoyama Period is of breathtaking beauty.

This exhibition will trace the footsteps of MAJIMA Toshiyuki and explain about lacquer in an easy-to-understand way. He is the chemist who clarified the molecular structure and is also one of the founders of the Department of Chemistry, School of Science, Osaka University.

Lacquer is used for items that are both practical and beautiful. What is urushiol?

The exhibition will simulate your intellectual curiosity.

Articles on display:

  • Articles related to MAJIMA Toshiyuki -- a laboratory table, a reduced pressure distillation system, a normal pressure reduction device, an ozone degradation device, and more.
  • Genuine lacquer ware,  lacquer ware replicas, other articles
  • Materials showing the progress of research in natural product chemistry by disciples of MAJIMA Toshiyuki
  • Introduction to the results of recent research at the Department of Chemistry, School of Science, Osaka University (film)

Lacquer art works:

  • Elevator doors at the Shinsaibashi branch, former Sogo Department Store (lacquer handiwork with mother-in-pearl inlay, by SHIMANO Sanshu in 1935)
  • Replicas of Buddhist statues and lacquered wooden Buddha statues in the Tenpyou Era (lacquered wooden Buddha statues housed at the Japan Art Institute National Treasures Repair Facility)
  • Lacquer ware (works from the Early Han Period to the Quing Period in China, works in the Momoyama Period in Japan)
  • Works in the Edo Period
  • Works of KITAMURA Shosai, living national treasure, and more

Sponsored by: Museum of Osaka University, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University

In cooperation with: Urushi wo Kagakusuru Kai, KITAMURA Shosai, Kinki Branch of The Chemical Society of Japan,The Kinki Chemical Society Japan, Kaitokudo for the 21st Century

Venue: Shugakukan Hall, Machikaneyama,  Museum of Osaka University


Date: 2010-1-16 (Sat) - 2010-3-30 (Tue)
Contact: Museum of Osaka University

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