Running through Nov. 5, the exhibition "Asian Art at the Art Complex: Tribute to Kojiro Tomita" at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Mass., offers a rare opportunity to see a distinctive collection of Asian art privately amassed by an American family.
Three years in the making, the exhibition honors Kojiro Tomita, friend and colleague to museum founders Carl and Edith Weyerhaeuser. Tomita, who would have turned 100 this year, was curator of Asian art at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. He and his wife Harriet were instrumental in helping the Art Complex Museum acquire its Japanese tea hut, which was dedicated to the Tomitas in 1975.
The Weyerhaeusers' permanent collection spans about 4,000 years of Asian art, from which come the 100 items on exhibition this summer. Many of the finest pieces never have been shown before.
The exhibition includes ceramics, bronzes, brush paintings, prints, lacquer and other works from China, India, Tibet, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. There are Chinese paintings, japanese ceramics dating as early as 2600 B.C., folk paintings and sculpture from India and exceptional tea ceremony pieces spanning four centuries.
Among the rare tea ceremony items are works by Living National Treasures, the highest level of recognition accorded a living artist by the Japanese government. One is a ceramic bowl by Taroemon Nakazato, potter of his family. There is also a 20th-century tea bowl by Shoji Hamada, an important figure in the preservation of ceramics of the Japanese folk craft traditions.
Among others rare tea ceremony items are a 17th-century bamboo flower container and a bowl by Chojiro, the first Raku potter.
Some of the 20th-century Japanese ceramic pieces in the exhibit look intriguingly modernistic and abstract, such as a ceramic sculpture made in four bulky pieces fitted together and finished in a shino-type glaze, a much appreciated glaze in tea ceremony wares.