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Review : The British Museum reopens its Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries – 27th September 2018

The British Museum has reopened  some of its most popular galleries after nine-months of refurbishment. The Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries opens to the public again on 27 September 2018, displaying highlights from the Museum’s extensive Japanese collections.

The galleries have seen major improvements to their design and infrastructure which considerably improve the display of some 430 artworks and archaeological and historical artefacts dating from ancient prehistory to the present day.

Several major new acquisitions will be on display in the galleries for the first time.

The centrepiece is the newly-acquired Edo period set of Samurai armour. Made in the 1700s, this complete set of armour bears the crest of the Mori clan, who were an influential family of samurai lords who ruled in both the Akō and Mikazuki domains, Harima province (modern Hyōgo prefecture). The armour was intended more for ceremony and display than for battle. This set comes with important accessories such as the battle surcoat (jinbaori), ceremonial fly whisk, and original lacquered storage boxes.

Another new acquisition will greet visitors on their arrival: Time Waterfall – panel #8 (Blue) by Miyajima Tatsuo (b. 1957) is a contemporary artwork which consists of randomly generated digital numbers which tumble down an LED panel.

Time Waterfall will be permanently displayed in the introductory area of the galleries next to a  sculpture of Bodhisattva Kannon from about 1930, and the Urasenke Foundation teahouse.

The galleries are full of remarkable objects including the Portrait of a retired townsman 1670-1790s, a number of masks and costumes used for Nō drama,  Courtesan reading a letter By Kitagawa Utamaro 1805-6 and many more.

Many sections of the galleries have been revised. These include displays relating to the prehistoric periods of Jōmon (13,500 – 500 BC), Yayoi (500 BC – AD 250) and Kofun (AD 250 – 600) which draws on recent collaborative research among the British Museum, The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) and leading archaeologists in Japan.

The modern galleries provide remarkable examples of more recent works, Dawn, 1992 By Tokuda Yasokichi III is a stunning piece of  Kutani ceramic, ‘Spirit Reborn’ (Kewtum kanna-suy) By Kaizawa Tōru 2017 is an intricate wooden owl chick pecking through its shell and encountering the world for the first time and Large feather leaves bowl, 2013 is by Hosono Hitomi who painstakingly attached over a thousand leaves to give the impression that they are gently rustling in the wind.

The stunning Japanese Galleries are some of the most popular in the British Museum, with around 5 million visitors in the past decade and a walk around the galleries provide a fascinating snapshot of Japan past and present.  The recent additions have added to an already fascinating display which often explores little known aspects of Japanese history and life.

Visiting London Guide Rating –  Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the British Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Walking through the British Museum with Google’s Indoor Street View

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The British Museum has announced a new partnership with Google’s Cultural Institute to allow many objects in the museum to be viewed online. Using similar technology that is used in Google maps, visitors from all over the world will be able to virtually walk through the permanent galleries of the British Museum thanks to the innovative indoor Street View footage. The British Museum is the largest space to be captured on indoor Street View and over 4,500 objects and artwork will be available to view.

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In addition, there will be specially curated virtual exhibits have been developed for the partnership– at launch these include Celtic life in Iron Age Britain, a tour of Celtic material from collections across the UK and an exploration of the main themes of the British Museum’s exhibition Egypt: faith after the pharaohs.

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The partnership also means that one of the British Museum’s most important Chinese scrolls – the Admonitions Scroll dating from the 6th-century – can now be viewed in never before seen definition thanks to Gigapixel technology, a powerful zoom functionality which has enabled the highest ever resolution image of the object. Due to the fragile nature of the scroll it is only ever available to view for a few months of the year. Now the scroll will be visible online, in amazing detail, all year round.

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Since the Google Cultural Institute was launched in 2011, they have worked with museums, foundations and archives and now have 800 partners from over 60 countries making cultural and historical material accessible online.

In many ways this news represents a major advance for online collections,  the ability to curate virtual exhibitions offers an opportunity for a wider range of people to explore and enjoy specific areas of collections, fragile items can be explored in minute detail  and the availability of a wide range of objects offers massive educational opportunities.

If you would like a virtual walk through the British Museum, visit the Google Institute website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here