Ceramic Decors of Buildings in Modern Japan
New buildings constructed in Japan in the early 1900s were adorned with ceramic tiles and decorative terracotta pieces. We have on display a full collection of artistic terracotta masterpieces, representative of key Japanese buildings from that time, in our Architectural Terracotta Museum.
The museum facility consists of an indoor exhibit and an outdoor Terracotta Park. The indoor exhibition area is built with clay walls, in which visitors can sense what it must have been like back in the time when architectural terracotta was in full bloom. In the spacious outdoor park, visitors can enjoy the terracotta pieces displayed around the grass-covered grounds under natural light.
Architectural Terracotta Museum
Western-style buildings built after the Meiji Restoration (1868) were typically made of bricks. Since the devastating Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, however, new buildings were constructed using reinforced concrete. The museum takes visitors through the history and the societal background of modern Japan thereby introducing the evolution of ornamental terracotta that embellished the decorative buildings in the early 20th century.
The second main building of the Imperial Hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was decorated with tiles and terracotta pieces, becoming the forerunner of the era of decorative buildings built with reinforced concrete structure. In our exhibit, we display nine pieces of terracotta from the hotel, including the column from the dining room, which conveys to this day the passion and craftsmanship involved in creating the majestic world of modern Japanese architecture.
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In the Terracotta Park, we have on display precious pieces of ornamental terracotta in the way they were originally seen, attached to a wall. Our collection of terracotta from 15 buildings is displayed around the grass-covered park, together with photographs from the time. The collection includes the terracotta from the main building of Matsuzakaya Yokohama department store designed by Teiji Suzuki and made by Ina Seito (which later became INAX, now LIXIL) in 1937.
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