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Kuruma: The Wheel in Japanese Life and Art

June 17 – September 21, 2008

The invention of the wheel has been considered one of the great milestones in the history of mankind, particularly because of its facilitation of long-distance transportation. In Japan the wheel has had a different history than it has in other regions of the world. While in the past most travel was on foot, ironically today, Japan dominates world automobile markets. This exhibition looks at the wheel and wheeled vehicles in Japanese history and examines their impact on Japanese civilization. Featured are actual Japanese wheels, including waterwheels for wet-rice agriculture, spinning wheels, carpenters’ snap-lines, pharmacists’ mortars for preparing traditional medicines, wheeled folk toys and more. Also on exhibit will be textiles, paintings, prints, ceramics and other media depicting such motifs as the Buddhist wheel of law, festival carts, carts for flower arrangement, ox-cart wheels, jinrikisha (rickshaws) and wheeled vehicles introduced from the West.

The exhibition is funded in part by the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation.