This shall be one of my most treasured memories.
We first stepped through a pathway with sharply cut bamboo lined on one side and a curtain of living, breathing bamboo on the other. It was a short cleansing walk, leading us away from the everyday clutter. At Nezu Museum (根津美術館) where my Intro to Japanese Art History prof is chief curator, we reveled in the Irises and Wisteria Screens exhibition (燕子花図と藤花図), only possible through her earnest sharing and discussing about the era’s styles and the artists’ social backgrounds and the changing functions of art. Being introduced to art pieces is such a gratifying experience because the conversations and shared observations make the visit so much more personal.
(image from Nezu Museum)
I often think about the artists when I view their pieces. Besides appreciating the lauded techniques of Irises by Ogata Korin (燕子花図屏風 尾形光琳筆) which may have led it to be deemed as a National Treasure of Japan, it is tons of fun figuring out if Ogata Korin also had someone he missed, why he chose such a broad brushstroke, what the numerous paths in that painting meant to him, and where he was trying to hint us towards.
This time I missed out on the teahouses and irises in the garden but I want to be back, if not for the view but also a reminder to express joy often, and to provide joy often.