Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art, Italy

Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental ArtEdoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art

The Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art (Museo d’Arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone) in Italy  hosts a valuable patrimony of Japanese and Chinese art gathered in Japan during the Meiji period by Edoardo Chiossone (Genoa 1833 – Tokyo 1898), a refined artist, an engraver of great talent and extraordinary tecnical ability, who was passionately interested in art and history.

He was employed in Tokyo in 1875 by the Japanese Government to set up and manage the engraving division of the Imperial Printing Bureau of the Ministry of Finance. During his 23-year stay in Japan Chiossone engraved over 500 plates for bankonotes, stamps, government bonds and other securities of the modern Japanese state. He is also well known as the portraitist of Emperor Meiji.

The Museum’s patrimony includes paintings, colour woodblock prints and illustrated books, sculpture, porcelain, enamel, lacquer, arms and armour, bronzes, theatrical masks, musical instruments, costumes and textiles.

Worth mentioning among the greatest hits are paintings by several artists of the Kan_ and Ukiyoe schools: Tsunenobu, Tany_, Ch_shun, Utamaro, Hiroshige and Hokusai.

After Chiossone’s death in Tokyo, his collection was sent to Italy and exhibited at Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti in Genoa. This first museum venue was inaugurated in 1905 by the King of Italy. After World War II, in observance of Chiossone’s will, the Genoa City Council resolved in 1948 to build a new museum to host the Chiossone Collection. The Museum building, designed by Mario Labò (Genoa, 1884-1961), a distinguished Genoese architect who practised the principles of rationalist architecture, was inaugurated in 1971. It stands in the middle of a romantic garden dating from the early 19th century, on the site once occupied by the neo-classical villa of marquis Gio. Carlo Di Negro (Genoa, 1769-1857), which was destroyed during World War II. The position is central, just in the vicinity of elegant Piazza Corvetto, and the view from the Museum is a breath-taking, enchanting panorama over the grey slate roofs of old Genoa, the harbour and the Ligurian sea.

The building is composed of an avant–corps with a terraced roof attached to the main body; the latter is a single rectangular hall with a wide room on the ground floor and five overhanging galleries along the two long walls, all connected by flights of stairs and forming a continuous course.

Exhibition galleries

  • Permanent Exhibition Galleries (main hall and galleries nos. 1-2, 5, 6) Japanese Buddhist sculpture; antiquities from pre-historical, proto-historical and historical periods (stone artefacts, bronze bells, halberds, mirrors, magatama); early to pre-modern Buddhist sculpture in metal; arms and armour, equipment of the warrior; wooden sculpture; theatrical masks; enamel, porcelain, lacquer and man’s dress accessories).
  • Temporary Exhibition Galleries (galleries nos. 3-4): used for special shows and rotation of fragile works of art (prints, paintings, textiles, lacquer).

For the museum, ASEMUS is a valuable forum of European and Asian museums specialising in Oriental Art and Culture.

Collection size: about 15.000 pieces.

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