Digital Exhibition

Japan in the early 17th century: In the Shijō street of Kyoto, the capital of the empire at that time, life pulsates with theatre performances and other amusements. A paravent from the GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig counts this on a so-called byōbu. Brought back from Japan in 1882 by the doctor Heinrich Botho Scheube, it is being displayed for the first time to mark its restoration. The exhibition aims not only to make the paravents artistic and cultural-historical significance clear, but also to present the artisanal dimension of the conservation work. This work took place in collaboration with the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (Tobunken). Indeed, transcultural cooperation is also central to the question of how ethical principles govern restoration in a 21st-century ethnological museum.

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The collection of Japanese objects reflects the European historical perspective on the country in the context of “Japonism” – the partly glorifying enthusiasm for Japan in the late 19th century. In a critical revision of this perspective, in the year of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, it is also intended to spark interest in contemporary Japan.

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