Museum Home Past Exhibitions Tales in Sprinkled Gold: Japanese Lacquer for European Collectors

March 3–May 24, 2009 at the Getty Center


Admission to the Getty Center is FREE. For visitor information, see information on planning a visit or call (310) 440-7300. All events are free, unless otherwise noted. Reservations are required for performances, lectures, seminars, and courses.


Conserving the Mazarin Chest
In this lecture, world-renowned lacquer conservator Yoshihiko Yamashita discusses his work on the Mazarin Chest, centerpiece of the exhibition Tales in Sprinkled Gold: Japanese Lacquer for European Collectors.

In April 2005, Yamashita and the conservation experts at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London began work on the chest, one of the world's finest surviving examples of Japanese export lacquer from the late 1630s. This effort marked the first time a Japanese conservator traveled outside Japan to treat an object in collaboration with another institution, setting a new standard for the conservation of Japanese lacquer objects held in Western collections.

Yamashita will discuss the conservation project, which sought to develop a new approach to the conservation of Japanese lacquer that incorporates both western and Japanese conservation values.

This talk is made possible with support from The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Japan America Society.

Free; reservations required.

Saturday, May 23, 2009, 4:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum Lecture Hall
Visit Images

Japanese Lacquer in the West: From Fantasy to Materials Science
Joe Earle, director of the Japan Society Gallery in New York, traces the journeys taken by the Mazarin Chest and the Van Diemen box, from Asian curiosities to objects of intense international research.

Thursday, April 23, 7:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum Lecture Hall


Tales of Genji
Enjoy two rarely screened classic Japanese films. Screening at 4:00 p.m. is Kenji Mizoguchi's Princess Yang Kwei-Fei (1955), based on an 8th-century Chinese poem that was popular during the lifetime of Murasaki Shikibu and influenced her magnificent novel The Tale of Genji. Screening at 7:00 p.m. is The Tale of Genji (1951), a narrative film based on the novel. Free; separate reservations are required for each film.

Princess Yang Kwei-Fei
Saturday, April 18, 2009, 4:00 p.m.

The Tale of Genji
Saturday, April 18, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Gallery Course

A Golden Exchange: The French Court, a Japanese Tale, and Global Commerce
This two-part course explores the French fascination with Japanese lacquer and other goods from the East. Special focus is given to the Mazarin Chest and related lacquer from the Getty's collection. Course fee $30; $20 students. Open to 30 participants.

Part 1: Saturday, May 9, 2009, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Part 2: Saturday, May 16, 2009, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Getty Center, GRI Lecture Hall and Museum galleries

Artist-at-Work Demonstration

Decorative Lacquer Work
Drop by as artist Marisa Kuizenga demonstrates gilding, painting, and varnishing techniques used by French craftsmen in the 1700s to imitate Asian lacquer.

Thursdays and Sundays, April 2–30
1:00–2:00 p.m.; repeats 2:00–3:00 p.m
Getty Center, Museum Studios

The Mazarin Chest / Japanese

Curators' Gallery Talks

Jeffrey Weaver, associate curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, and Antoine Wilmering, program officer at the Getty Foundation, lead gallery talks on the exhibition. Meet under the stairs in the Museum Entrance Hall.

Thursdays, March 19, April 16, and May 14, 2009, 2:30 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum galleries

Family Festival

Discover the rich culture of Japan in this full-day interactive festival inspired by the exhibition. Try your hand at art-making workshops; enjoy music and dance ensembles, taiko drumming, and crafts demonstrations; and get carried away by our master storytellers. Free; no reservations required.

Saturday, March 28, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum Courtyard


The Mazarin Chest and Japanese Export Lacquer of the 1640s: A New Interpretation of their Decoration
During the recent Mazarin Chest conservation project at the Victoria and Albert Museum, prominent landscape elements and other details visible on the chest were identified. Julia Hutt, a curator and member of the conservation project team, reports on the latest research.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 3:00 p.m.
Getty Center, Museum Lecture Hall