Hailing from China's Han dynasty between 206
B.C. – 221 A.D. it was the introduction of the
screen to Japan in the seventh century that sealed
its fate as functional art. By the eighth century
artfully painted byobu – paper screens – became
de rigeur among the homes of nobility and
residencies of the Imperial Court. The six-fold
screens became integral to Japanese living, not
only for their functionality as temporary room
dividers, but for their incredible decorative detail.
Continuing the tradition, each year during the Gion
Festival many families open their doors (or rather
slide back their screens) inviting guests to see
these, along with other traditional treasures, in a
domestic setting,
The culture's affinity with nature is, historically the
most common subject, as deftly painted flowers,
birds and trees remain a continual theme, and the
NGV's showcase is a fantastic overview and a rare
opportunity to see such an impressive array.

April 4 trough September 9, 2007
Federation Square Melbourne
Melbourne, VIC 8004 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8620 2222