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"Ghosts, Goblins, and Gods: The Supernatural in Japanese Art" at Morikami
Telling ghost stories and creepy tales is a popular summer activity in Japan. That’s why the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is hosting a special exhibition: “Ghosts, Goblins, and Gods: The Supernatural in Japanese Art.”
The tenets of Shinto, Japan’s native religion are based on the belief that spirits inhabit the natural world, both animate and inanimate objects including rocks, mountains, trees, rivers and lakes. Japan has more than 10,000 legends of the supernatural in its culture, and this connection to the spirit world is expressed in Japanese art, drama, folklore, philosophy, literature, even film. Some of these gods are guardian spirits, while others are harmful tricksters, deceiving humans and coaxing them into foolish, reckless behavior.
This exhibition comprises an array of paintings, colorful woodblock prints, sculptures, masks and other objects depicting a host of legendary ghosts, gods, and other-worldly beings. Among the mythical tricksters on view are tengu, half-man, half-bird forest creatures with long noses that are said to abduct children.
There are magical foxes and badgers that transform themselves into human form, and representations of the Japanese gods of good fortune, wisdom, and long life, including Ebisu, the god of fishermen, Daikoku, the god of agriculture, Fukurokuju, the god of wisdom and long life, Hotei, the god of happiness, and his feminine equivalent, Okame, the plump-cheeked cheerful goddess of mirth.
The exhibit would not be complete without including some fuzzy goblins from the popular Pokemon series, which have contributed to making monsters a popular theme in Japanese culture today.
There are paintings on scrolls and screens, woodblock prints, sculptures, roof tiles, painted clay dolls, folk toys and kites. Most pieces on display come from the museum’s collection, while others are on loan from the Clark Family Collection.
“Ghosts, Goblins and Gods: The Supernatural in Japanese Art” runs through mid-September. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, located at 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. For ticket information, please call 561-495-0233 or visit morikami.org.
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