Japan’s Momoyama period (1573–1615) was brief but dramatic, witnessing the struggles of a handful of ambitious warlords for control of the long-splintered country and then the emergence of a united Japan. It was an era of dynamic cultural development as well, for the daimyos commissioned innovative artworks to proclaim their newly acquired power. One such art was a ceramic ware known as Oribe, which, appearing mysteriously and suddenly, rose to prominence for use in the tea ceremony. Boldly painted and displaying playful new shapes, these dashing wares matched the extroverted world of the warlords. Similar stylistic and technical inventiveness characterized painting, lacquerware, and textiles of the period.
Eleven essays by leading scholars and about two hundred catalogue entries present outstanding examples of all these extraordinary works and examine the social and cultural contexts in which they were created.