Homo Faber

EN Languages Account Follow us Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter
Presented by logo Homo Faber by Michelangelo Foundation


12 Stone Garden

A showcase of masterpieces by 12 National Living Treasures

A Japanese garden of meaningful objects

An evocative exhibition inspired by a traditional Japanese garden, imagined and designed by Naoto Fukasawa, visitors will discover the masterpieces of 12 Japanese National Living Treasures. The master artisans whose traditional skills are prized in Japan as integral to its cultural heritage, have been selected with renowned museum director Tokugo Uchida. The artworks on display include kimonos, an urushi lacquered harp and a bamboo flower basket, are simply yet reverentially displayed in the magnificent Palladian Refectory on 12 blocks shaped as stones. Short films provide an insight into the working processes of the masters who handcrafted these sometimes unassuming, but always exceptional pieces.

The 12 National Living Treasures

Meet the masters

Imaemon Imaizumi XIV

Master of the traditional technique of overglazing in making ceramics, and the 14th successor in the family that served Lord Nabeshima as officially appointed potter.

Zenzo Fukushima

Creates Koishiwara ware, celadon based on traditional ceramic-making techniques and materials from the 17th century.

Kunihiko Moriguchi

A textile dyer adept at geometric designs using natural motifs such as flowers, snow and streams, in Kyoto’s yuzen textile-dyeing tradition.

Sonoko Sasaki

Dyes tsumugi-type silk yarn in colors derived from grasses and leaves using the kasuri weaving technique. She has been awarded the Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.

Kazumi Murose

Makes urushi lacquer wares using the technique of maki-e, which dates to the 8th century, to create highly refined modern designs.

Isao Onishi

A cabinet maker, a master of each step, from moulding cypress wood to finishing the lacquer. His designation as a National Living Treasure is for the lacquering technique known as kyushitsu.

Yukie Osumi

A master of metal forging, she uses silver sheet metal and mallets to create her work. Her designation as a National Living Treasure is for tankin (metalwork).

Noboru Fujinuma

Weaves or braids fine sticks of bamboo into fine baskets and other objects. Designation is for bamboo craftwork, which was transmitted from 8th century Chinese Tang culture.

Komao Hayashi

Employs a style of making toso dolls that dates to the 17th century. His work is informed by knowledge of the Noh theatre and performing arts such as kyogen, kabuki and Kyoto-style dance. He was awarded Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.

Jun Isezaki

One of the most renowned master artisans of Bizen ceramics, a traditional ware that emerged over a thousand years ago in the Bizen district.

Takeshi Kitamura

A textile artist who employs ancient weaving techniques, recreating traditional methods in Nishijin, the historical home of textiles in Kyoto region of Japan.

Kenji Suda

A woodwork artist and cabinetmaker using a traditional technique called sashimono to create intricate intarsia wooden boxes, using Japanese lacquer or urushi.

Designed and curated by: Naoto Fukasawa

Naoto Fukasawa has worked for leading brands around the world across many different design disciplines from precision electronic equipment to furniture and interior spaces. What links his work is a dedication to the beauty of form and the power of silence, a design philosophy that has garnered him international recognition for his ability to express the true essence of an object. In addition, he is the curator of The Japan Folk Crafts Museum, a professor at the Tama Art University and has sat on several judging panels including the Loewe Craft Prize. In 2007 he was named Honorary Royal Designer for Industry by the UK’s Royal Society of Arts.

Designed and curated by: Tokugo Uchida

Tokugo Uchida completed his PhD in aesthetics at Keio University in 2007 and has since lectured widely in Japan and abroad. He served as a member of the Cultural Council, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; committee member for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage and Guest Professor at Kyushu University. He is involved in the selection for art-related awards, holds important roles in governmental organisations for traditional crafts as an art history specialist and has authored numerous publications.