Tuesday, 24 June 2008
I love it when you see an exhibition and something about it, the objects involved, the location, the subject of the exhibition or even the smells connected to it take you right back to another place, or as was the case for me today, another country and another culture. The exhibition I'm talking about is Black robe, white mist: Art of the Japanese Buddhist nun Rengetsu showing at the RMIT Gallery in Melbourne until Thursday this week (sorry about the late notice if you hope to get to it). Otagaki Rengetsu or Lotus Moon was an 18th century Japanese Buddhist nun who made beautiful ceramics (mostly tea bowls and saki cups) and inscribed poetry about love, the seasons, nature, joy, life, sorrow, celebrations on their surfaces. For the exhibition, the verses have been translated into English so you can really sink into the mind of a wonderfully creative woman living more than 200 years ago. The exhibition also includes her calligraphy on elegant scrolls.
I spent a lot of time drinking tea in Japan out of tea bowls that were so beautiful they held me spellbound. And I can say the same about the sake cups I drank from. There is something really earthy and soulful about the ceramics of these everyday vessels in Japan. As I walked through the exhibition today in Melbourne I was teleported back to Japan through the scrolls, poetry and ceramics I saw there. It was deeply moving and made me very homesick for my other home, Kyoto. Go see the exhibition if you can.
Further info about Rengetsu can be found via the National Gallery of Australia at this link.