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Kitamura “Unryuan” Tatsuo, Kai -awase shells 2015. Shell, gilt, lacquer, colour pigment various, 6.5 x 8.0 to 8.0 x 9.5 cm (each). The Pauline Gandel Collection of Japanese Lacquer © Courtesy of Kitamura Studios

Kitamura “Unryuan” Tatsuo, Kai -awase shells 2015. Painting flower designs onto the shells with Nihonga pigment © Courtesy of Kitamura Studios

Kitamura “Unryuan” Tatsuo. The taka-maki-e process: the raised chrysanthemum flowers have thin flakes of gold applied before being sprinkled with gold powder © Courtesy of Kitamura Studios

Installation view of Golden shells and the gentle mastery of Japanese lacquer at NGV International from 25 November 2021 – 18 April 2022. Photo Sean Fenness

Installation view of Golden shells and the gentle mastery of Japanese lacquer at NGV International from 25 November 2021 – 18 April 2022. Photo: Sean Fenness

  • 180 St Kilda Rd, Southbank VIC 3006, Australia

  • NGV International

  • Free

  • Daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

  • +61 (0)3 8620 2222

25 November, 2021 - 18 April, 2022

Golden shells and the gentle mastery of Japanese lacquer

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Comprising two Japanese lacquerware shell boxes and 720 gilded clam-shaped shells, each decorated with hand-painted Japanese and Australian flowers, the exhibition celebrates the beauty and artistry of the historical Japanese ‘shell matching’ game kai-awase.

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