The Golden Pavilion, gold tea house, golden Buddha hall, golden screens, a kimono embroidered with gold thread, lacquerware decorated with gold—the list goes on. Gold has long been used as a luxurious material for architectural features, sculpture, painting, textiles, and many other forms in Japanese art. Universally coveted for its rich color and enduring value, it has come to symbolize power, strength, wealth, eternity, and religious sanctity.
Experience a gallery gleaming with all that glitters—gold. The pieces on view have been selected from the museum’s Japanese collection, which provide a glimpse of exceptional and varied works that utilize gold, including Buddhist paintings, shrines and accoutrements, monk’s robes and temple runners—which all demonstrate gold’s sacred symbolism in Buddhism; while gold leaf on paintings, gold decorations on lacquer boxes and inro, and gold threads in kimono and obi, all impart a luminous layer to the artworks.
Image: Hooded cape, 19th century, Japanese, Edo period (1603–1868), wool, silk, and gilded leather, Gift of the Christensen Fund, 2001.422.