I went to Nezu Museum to see a special exhibition titled “One Hundred Camellias.”
Camellias have been adored both in the East and the West, and the past and the present. In Japan, growing camellias became a fad in Edo period. People were not satisfied with just appreciating flowers and started breeding them to have some new types. (It’s a bit similar to the enthusiasm for tulips in Europe in the 17th.
“One Hundred Camellias” is a 24m-long picture scroll in which we can see more than 100 kinds of camellia. A variety of flowers are arranged in articles for daily use such as a bowl, a fan, a basket, a trash tray as well as in vegetables! The ideas of combinations with a flower and a container are incredibly intriguing.
The scroll was planned by Tadakuni Matsudaira and was finished by his son. It took 2 generations to complete it because they asked poets, monks and scholars to write down praises for each camellia. The scroll has a great literary value, too.
The museum building, which was designed by a successful architect, Kengo Kuma, is also worth seeing. When I stepped into a long and narrow outside corridor, which is lined by bamboo trees, I felt as if I were walking around Kyoto. It’s quite relaxing.
photos: Nezu Museum, izuhapi.net