Hara Sankei (real given name: Tomitaro; 1868-1939) was a Yokohama-based businessman, who primarily made his fortune in the raw-silk trade and silk-spinning industry. Born in the first year of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Hara was a leading figure in the nascent economic sphere of modern Japan until just prior to World War II.
Hara was also an enthusiastic collector of antique art with a unique historical perspective; a man of refined tastes who broke new ground in Japanese “chanoyu” (the Way of Tea); an artist who moved and reconstructed historical buildings, created Sankeien Garden, which he opened to the public free of charge, and a talented painter, calligrapher, and classical Chinese scholar; and a patron who actively supported and cultivated promising artists of the era. While Hara’s cultural endeavors were based on his altruistic spirit as a philanthropist, and his activities and interpersonal exchanges as a business leader, his activities concurred with the process and trajectory that led to the establishment of the modern Japanese art world and market.
In this exhibition, we focus on Hara’s achievements in his four different roles as collector, tea master, artist, and patron. While examining the interrelationship between these areas from a historical perspective, we present approximately 150 art works and tea utensils from Hara’s collection, including over 25 masterpieces that have been designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, along with important documents to provide a complete picture of the man. This will serve as an invaluable opportunity to see Hara’s unrivaled collection of fine articles all at once in the largest exhibition of its kind to date.
*Some displays ｗill be changed during the course of the exhibition.