Edmund de Waal’s actual Hare with Amber Eyes

Hare with amber eyes

Photograph: Martin Argles/Guardian

If you’ve read Edmund de Waal’s wonderful book, The Hare with Amber Eyes, you’ll know it’s the story of a collection of netsuke owned by his family which miraculously survived through the wars and turbulence of the 20th century. The hare was his favourite of the collection – and now you have a chance to see the actual hare netsuke at the In a Nutshell exhibition at the Japanese Embassy. Continue reading

The life-affirming art of a former kamikaze pilot

Kenji Yoshida - La VieKenji Yoshida’s show at the October Gallery in Bloomsbury, Kenji Yoshida – Supreme Beauty –  is full of the most life-affirming pictures I’ve seen in a long time. They glow and shine, and the fact that their strength is derived from terrible suffering in war makes them all the more powerful. Continue reading

Channelling the winter solstice – Mariko Mori at the Royal Academy

Mariko Mori - photo Geraint Lewis

The first thing you need to know about the Mariko Mori exhibition at the Royal Academy is that it’s not where you think it is. Swanning into the main entrance on Piccadilly will get you nowhere – it’s round the back in the new Burlington Galleries on Burlington Street. If you get it wrong, nip down the Burlington Arcade and turn right. The other thing you need to know is that it’s unexpectedly entertaining. Continue reading

Don’t miss these fabulous flame pots from five thousand years ago

British Museum Jomon PotsGuess how many pots they have in the British Museum flame and water pots exhibition. Twenty? Twelve? No, it’s two. Two pots. The two pots in the photo above, in fact. So now you’re thinking ‘Why should I bother with that?’ Because those two pots are seriously wonderful, that’s why. And they were made in Japan five thousand years ago, when the best our prehistoric ancestors could manage was Stonehenge. Continue reading

Let a volunteer be your guide at the British Museum

Dawn by Yasokichi IIII spent a fascinating morning in the Japanese Galleries at the British Museum today on a tour led by Yannick Pucci, one of the team of volunteer guides who take you round the galleries and help you understand what you’re seeing. The tour only lasts half an hour so we just looked at a small selection of the exhibits but I found it all highly illuminating. When the tour finished I asked Yannick to pick out his favorite objects for me. Here they are, along with a couple of my favorites as well. Continue reading