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from Japan

What do frogs, insects and reptiles have to do with Danish crafts and design?

Explore the symbolic universe that defines Japanese art and learn more about how Japan has long been an important source of inspiration for Danish crafts and design.

Since it was founded, the museum has collected Japanese art as a source of inspiration for Danish arts and crafts. Influence from Japan visibly boosted to Danish handicrafts around 1900, and the fascination continued throughout the 20th century. Today the connection between Japanese and Danish design remains strong.

The idea behind the exhibition

The exhibition curator, art historian Dr. phil. Mirjam Gelfer-Jørgensen, is also the author of the book ”Influences from Japan in Danish Art and Design 1870-2010”. She says about the exibit:

“The meeting with Japanese art supplied Danish art with incentives that have translated into new approaches in several areas of craftsmanship. For Danish art, Japanism has been a catalyst with a far-reaching and long-lasting effect. The flow has been an important prerequisite for the modernism that made Denmark into a design nation in the 20th century.”


Lizards and glaze

The exhibit is wide-ranging and touches on themes like nature motifs in Japanese art, processes and materials, architecture and interior design, fashion and lighting, furniture and tableware, all inspired by the meeting with Japanese art and handicrafts, but now integrated into Danish design.

Visitors can experience the museum’s collection of beautiful Japanese woodcuts from the 18th century, unique graphic works from the book and picture collection as well as ceramics created using special Japanese techniques.

In addition, they can see how nature plays an important role in architecture and interior design. The harmony between Danish and Japanese crafts is based on both country’s lack of their own minerals, metals, and fuel. Since Japan is covered by vast forests, wood has been an important source of design for homes and furniture.