Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Japanese Teahouse Closed

The Philadelphia Museum of Art's Japanese ceremonial teahouse and garden are closed while the ceiling is replaced and lighting improved. The $350,000 project - funded by the Women's Committee and a private donor - will install a translucent ceiling, which aims to provide a more convincing outdoor look for the garden. The previous ceiling was installed in 1958.

Japanese Teahouse Closed

The Philadelphia Museum of Art's Japanese ceremonial teahouse and garden are closed while the ceiling is replaced and lighting improved. The $350,000 project - funded by the Women's Committee and a private donor - will install a translucent ceiling, which aims to provide a more convincing outdoor look for the garden. The previous ceiling was installed in 1958.

And so, galleries 241, 242 and 243 in Japanese Art will remain closed as work is performed, re-opening to the public with the exhibition Pleasures and Pastimes in Japanese Art sometime around the new year.

Here's some history on the teahouse and garden via Felice Fischer, the museum's Luther W. Brady curator of Japanese art and curator of East Asian art:

"The two Japanese architectural units, a ceremonial teahouse and a Buddhist temple structure, were originally acquired in 1928. There is a series of newspaper articles that describes the "farewell" tea ceremony in September 1928, before the teahouse was dismantled and shipped in five crates from Yokohama to Philadelphia. The teahouse was built in about 1917 by the architect-owner, using fifteenth-century models. The temple building came from Nara, in western Japan. It represents the traditional wood post and beam structure, with the posts resting on large stone bases. The roof is covered with ceramic tiles and features gargoyle-like "devil tiles" (oni-gawara) that ward off evil spirits."

(Photo: Ceremonial Teahouse: Sunkaraku [Evanescent Joys], designed by Ōgi Rodō [Japanese, 1863 – 1941] c. 1917, made in Tokyo of wood, bamboo, stone, metal, rush, plaster, paper, ceramic, fabric, and mulberry bast cord. Purchased with Museum funds, 1928)

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

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