Japanophiles Rejoice: A Slice Of Japan At V&A

Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 23 months ago
Japanophiles Rejoice: A Slice Of Japan At V&A Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art 4
A remarkably ornate gilded screen is one of many impressive items in this gallery. (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Japan has a fantastic cultural history, with amazing ancient art and samurai armour, right through to technological advancements and distinctive modern fashion.

So it's great that the newly refurbished Toshiba gallery of Japanese Art is now open to the public, so visitors can see a diverse range of items covering the history of Japan, as part of the V&A's permanent collection.

It contains everything we expected to find: intricately designed samurai swords, woodblock prints, items from a tea ceremony and dazzling silk robes. Modern times also get a look in with mobile phone and video technology, plus the eccentric fashion tastes of contemporary Japan... and there's even the unexpected surprise of a Hello Kitty rice cooker.

Other items tell the history of Japan, such as a reliquary that probably belonged to one of the first Japanese citizens to be converted to Christianity by missionaries.

This may be just one gallery, but it is replete with treasures including a massive incense burner decorated with two life sized peacocks sculpted into its base.

The Toshiba gallery of Japanese art may be found in room 35 of the V&A.  

No history of Japan is complete without some intimidating samurai armour. (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Last Updated 18 November 2015