Radiant Raden

January 9, 2021 to February 14, 2021

Raden refers to a decorative technique using pieces of the linings of shells that have a lustrous, the nacre or mother-of-pearl layer. (Ra means a conch or other spiral shell, den implies decorating with shells.) Those glowing pieces are cut into the shapes of motifs and then inlayed or glued to the surface of the work. In Asia, raden was incorporated into the body of techniques used to decorate lacquerware. The principal shells used are great green turban shells and abalone shells, for their nacre is not plain white but glows with color gradations from blue to red, as though light is radiating from within. The world that these shells and the beautiful luster unique to lacquer weave has fascinated people for centuries.
This exhibition traces the history of the adoption of raden technqiues and their development in Japan, mainly through works in the Nezu Museum collection, while providing an opportunity to experience the fascination of radiant raden from China, the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the Ryukyu Kingdom (now Okinawa prefecture).




Nezu Museum

Nezu Museum

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6-5-1 Minami-Aoyama
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
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