Japan

Buddhist temples and gardens of astounding beauty, and museums filled with national treasures.

videos + essays

A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Edo period
A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Edo period

Learn about floating worlds and the art of the literati from Japan's Edo period.

A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Kamakura to Azuchi-Momoyama periods
A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Kamakura to Azuchi-Momoyama periods

Learn about tea-ceremonies, opulent palaces, and splashed-ink paintings from Japan's Kamakura to Azuchi-Momoyama periods.

A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Meiji to Reiwa periods
A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Meiji to Reiwa periods

Learn about Japan's modern cityscapes, art in a time of peace, and the dawn of a new era.

A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Jomon to Heian periods
A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Jomon to Heian periods

Learn about Japan's famous haniwa, tales from behind palace walls, and enormous wooden buddhas.

The Shōsōin Repository and its treasure
The Shōsōin Repository and its treasure

Shōsōin repository held nine thousand artifacts from China, Southeast Asia, Iran, and the Middle East—connecting ancient Japan to the cultural trade of the Eurasian continent.

Ryōanji (Peaceful Dragon Temple)
Ryōanji (Peaceful Dragon Temple)

This atmospheric space awakens the eye, heightens the senses, and prepares the path for enlightenment.

Zheng Sixiao, Ink Orchid
Zheng Sixiao, Ink Orchid

Zheng’s precise calligraphic strokes lend vitality and movement to these delicate flowers. But are they rootless?

Ogata Kōrin, <em>Red and White Plum Blossoms</em>
Ogata Kōrin, Red and White Plum Blossoms

Combining metallic curls with mottled color, Kôrin’s screens capture the pulsing vitality of early spring.

Haniwa Warrior
Haniwa Warrior

These expressive funerary objects evolved from simple clay cylinders into animal, human, and building forms.

Tōdai-ji
Tōdai-ji

This massive temple was built to impress—twice. Its monumental timber frame required a veritable cypress forest.