International Conference „Nanban. Far East. Close Art” | 4–5 October 2019

Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów, Warsaw, Poland
4–5 October 2019

Nanban table from Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów collection, photo A. Indyk

The International Conference is crowning “The Collaborative Project of Conservation of the Nanban Table from the Collection of Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów” co-financed by the grant from the Sumitomo Foundation. The Nanban Table from the Wilanów collection, made around 1610, is an object of unique artistic quality, among the finest and most important surviving examples of Nanban style in the world collections. It owes its shape to late Renaissance Portuguese furniture and its technology and decorative motifs – to the Japanese lacquerware (Urushi) and Oriental tradition.

Nanban, literally the art of the “southern barbarians”, denotes Japanese work of decorative art, using Urushi lacquer and reflecting a strong impact of European art and tradition. Produced between 1540s and 1630s, they were mostly intended for export to Europe and their characteristic feature is an extraordinary combination of Eastern and Western qualities. Japanese foreign trade of this period was dominated by Portuguese merchants; hence, numerous Nanban-type artefacts disclose strong inspiration and references to Portuguese products.

Nanban table from Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów collection, photo A. Indyk

Ten years have passed since Victoria and Albert Museum’s big project of conservation of Mazarin Chest. Preservation and conservation of Oriental lacquerware was and still is a challenge for specialists all over the world. Ending of the second such a broad project in Europe – conservation of the Nanban Table from Wilanów collection – is a great occasion to deepen reflection and discuss aesthetical and ethical approach, applied methods and materials in conservation of Urushi lacquer.

The symposium will be attended by distinguished guests, authorities in the field of lacquerware: prof. dr Monika Kopplin (Munster, Germany), dr Masako Shono-Sladek (Cologne, Germany) and Shigeru Kitamura (Nara, Japan). Museum staff and associates will present details of the Nanban Table Conservation Project. Other participants of the seminar will be able to present their research and conservation projects during the poster session.

Nanban table from Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów collection, photo A. Indyk

Conference curator:
Anna Guzowska
email: aguzowska[at]museum-wilanow.pl

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