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)