Well-loved high jewellery pieces by French jewellery house Van Cleef & Arpels are on display at an exhibition in Kyoto, Japan, which highlights artistic masterpieces that best exemplify French and Japanese techniques.
The “Mastery of an Art: Van Cleef & Arpels – High Jewelry and Japanese Crafts” exhibition casts a light on the jewellery house’s Heritage Collection alongside traditional Japanese artwork.
“As the focus of the exhibition is mastery of art, we believe that presenting a combination of works that serve as outstanding examples of French and Japanese techniques will lead to the emergence of a new perspective,” according to the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto. “By presenting a special selection of high jewellery pieces and Japanese crafts, we are convinced that it will be possible to attain a greater level of cultural exchange and fusion between France and Japan.”
Like Japanese crafts, high jewellery pieces produced by Van Cleef & Arpels are “treasures,” and those who create them are the equivalent of what is known in Japan as “Living National Treasures,” the national museum added.
The modern era, particularly around the end of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), saw the emergence of Japanese artisans who placed an emphasis on originality and saw themselves as independent artists. Van Cleef & Arpels, on the other hand, has constantly produced collections involving innovative processes in its workshop.
“We encourage viewers to compare some 100 works of high jewellery, which combine a variety of materials and display a technical mastery that might be referred to as ‘transcendental workmanship,’ with about 50 equally sublime examples of Japanese crafts, including cloisonné enamel, ceramics, lacquer ware and metalwork,” it added.
The exhibition, which opened on April 29, is being held at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto until August 6, 2017.