This exhibition was held at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem from 28 September 2004 to 28 February 2005. It featured eighty objects displaying the exceptional artistry of the period in many medias and materials, including: lacquer, porcelain and bronze; significant enamel works depicting the four seasons, animals and plants; and large bronze figures of Japanese demons and samurai.
The Japanese treasures that comprise this exhibition, on display in Israel for the first time, are samples of the legacy of the Meiji period (1868 -1912). The Meiji (literally, ‘Enlightened Rule’) represented a revolutionary chapter in the history of Japan, insofar as it ushered in Japan’s modern era. The exhibition Splendors of Imperial Japan features works of art from the Khalili Collection which reflects a blending of East and West; while incorporating classical Japanese motifs and traditional techniques, they were made to appeal to the love of opulence then prevalent in the West. In the forty-four years of Meiji rule, Japanese craftsmanship reached levels of perfection previously unknown, and never equalled since.
The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel and is ranked among the leading art and archaeology museums in the world. Founded in 1965, the Museum houses encyclopaedic collections ranging from prehistory through contemporary art, including the most extensive holdings of Biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world, among them the Dead Sea Scrolls. In over thirty-five years, the Museum has built a far-ranging collection of nearly 500,000 objects through an unparalleled legacy of gifts and support from its circle of patrons worldwide. It has established itself both as an internationally valued institution and as a singularly rich cultural resource for Israel, the Middle East, and the world.
The Director of the Museum is James S. Snyder and the exhibition was curated by Rebecca Bitterman, Senior Curator of the Marcel Lorber Department of Asian Art.