A selection of mobile phones designed by  Naoto Fukasawa, a group of kimono from the 1920s-1930’s and a Hello Kitty rice cooker toaster and kettle are just some of the recent acquisitions that the Victoria and Albert Museum have made.

These (and other acquisitions) will be displayed in the newly refurbished Toshiba Gallery of Japanese art which will reopen to the public at the beginning of November.

FE.100:1-2013 Sculpture OO-IX; Sculpture, 'OO-IX' (boy on a motorcycle), slip-cast porcelain with glazes and platinum lustre, 2013, by HAYASHI Shigeki (b. 1972), consisting of three main parts and three smaller parts Japan, modern crafts, studio, ceramics Shigeki Hayashi (1972-) Japan 2013
‘OO-IX’ Sculpture, 2013, © Hayashi Shigeki and Yufuku Gallery. Photograpy copyright: Victoria and Albert Museum London.

The Toshiba Gallery of Japanese art originally opened at the museum in 1986 and was the first to examine Japanese artwork in the UK. It was designed to showcase the best of the museum’s collection of Japanese art and design, a collection that has been building up since opening in 1852.

When the gallery reopens, it will display around 550 works in a curated series of exhibits including the thirty or more recent acquisitions and will examine the craftsmanship and creativity of Japanese culture from the 6th century all the way up to the present day.

Cloisonn+®_enamel_vases_Namikawa_Yasuyuki_Kyoto_Japan_c.1880-90_c_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_London[1]
Cloisonné enamel vases, Namikawa Yasuyuki, c.1880-90, (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Everything from the lighting, the graphics and even the display cases will be updated and the gallery will be reconfigured to allow more space for contemporary objects from the collection to be displayed.

Other treasures in the gallery will include the beautiful Mazarin chest, made in Kyoto at around 1640, a well preserved late 17th- century six-fold screen and a major group of Cloisonné enamels from the period of 1880-1910.

Admission to the gallery will be free to the public and there will also be an accompanying book titled Japanese Art and Design edited by Gregory Irvine available to buy from the 2nd November.

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