Hamilton Gallery

UTAGAWA SADAHIDE, 'The Great Battle of Koromo River in Ōshū (Koromogawa ōgassen no zu)', c. 1864.

COLLECTION

JAPANESE ART

The Hamilton Gallery collection is remarkably strong in contemporary Japanese ceramics and metalwork, Japanese ceramics and, in particular, Japanese porcelains, reflecting the rich diversity of the artistic traditions of Asia.

Indeed, porcelains now represent just short of half of the Hamilton’s Japanese collection.

The history of the Hamilton Gallery’s collection of Japanese art can be squarely divided into two parts: pre- and post-twenty-first century. The Herbert and May Shaw Bequest – that is, the foundation of the Hamilton Gallery – contained only a select few Japanese objects. Among them were five ivory-carved okimono (decorative objects, literally translated, ‘objects for placement’) wood carvings, as well as a few ceramics.

From the 1960s to the 1990s, a steady trickle of one-off purchases made via bequests as well as donations from distinguished persons would add woodblock prints, lacquerware and lacquered furnishings, cloisonné, additional okimono, wood carvings, ceramics, among other single acquisitions such as a short sword and ink landscape painting to the collection. While it is impossible to discern the exact motives that drew the Australian collector-donors to the objects that they brought to Hamilton during these decades, it is nevertheless fair to say that their tastes were not wholly arbitrary. It is no accident that each of the mediums collected is, even to this day, deeply associated with Japan and Japanese culture. Behind their selection lies a complex mix of trends that were consciously cultivated to meet evolving political and commercial interests.

COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS

Kishi Eiko

Nohgata #2
58 x 76 x 15cm stoneware, inlaid frit and glazed

Utagawa Hiroshige

The Kawaguchi Ferry and Zenkōji Temple (Kawaguchi no watashi Zenkōji)
33.5 x 33.5cm Framed: 22.3cm woodblock print, ink and colour on paper

Unknown Imbe region, Japan

Storage jar
18.8 x 18.8 x 16.6cm Framed: 16.6cm stoneware (Bizen ware)

Utagawa Sadahide

The Great Battle of Koromo River in Ōshū (Koromogawa ōgassen no zu)
woodblock print, triptych, ink and colour on paper

Kamisaka Sekka

Summer Iris from the series Momoyagusa (Flowers of a Hundred Worlds)
29.8 x 29.8cm Framed: 44.8cm woodblock print, ink and colour on paper

Kamisaka Sekka

Two Women from the series Momoyagusa (Flowers of a Hundred Worlds)
29.8 x 29.8cm Framed: 44.8cm woodblock print, ink and colour on paper

Kamisaka Sekka

Cargo Boatmen from the series Momoyagusa (Flowers of a Hundred Worlds)
29.8 x 29.8cm Framed: 44.8cm woodblock print, ink and colour on paper

Kamisaka Sekka

Spring Blossoms from the series Momoyagusa (Flowers of a Hundred Worlds)
29.8 x 29.8cm Framed: 44.8cm woodblock print, ink and colour on paper

Minamoto no Yoshitsune

Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Benkei, and vassals at a river bank
9.5 x 7 x 5.7cm ivory, carved
Header Image: Utagawa Sadahide, ‘The Great Battle of Koromo River in Ōshū (Koromogawa ōgassen no zu)’ c.1864woodblock print, triptych, ink and colour on paper. Gift of Dr H.D. Chamberlain 1979