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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 30, 2010
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Japan in Polish Art
November 30, 2010   
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An exhibition entitled Still-life With a Japanese Doll at the manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Cracow explores the motif of Japanese dolls in the paintings of Polish modernists and contemporary artists.

Emerging in the late 19th century, the artists’ fascination with the culture and aesthetics of Japan was and still is manifested in such things as a fondness for Japanese knickknacks, one of the most popular being the Japanese porcelain doll called ningyo, clad in a colorful kimono. This doll was not only a charming motif but also a symbol and allegory, present in the work of many great Polish painters, to mention Olga Boznańska, Józef Pankiewicz, Alfons Karpiński, Józef Mehoffer and Leon Wyczółkowski, all of whose works are part of this exhibition.

Apart from the doll of the title, other Japanese items were just as popular among artists, including kimonos, parasols and fans, and a model wearing a Japanese kimono was a fashionable and popular iconographic theme.

Some of the items on loan from private owners and foreign collections are being shown in Poland for the first time. The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalog with notes on the exhibits as well as examples of how the Japanese doll motif has been used in fashion, animated cartoons, music videos, photographs, theater and graphic art.

Mirela Hein
manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, 26 Konopnickiej St., Cracow, through Jan. 9
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