Living National Treasure (2014)
Nakagawa Mamoru, recognized for his outstanding mastery of zogan (metal-inlay), was designated a Living National Treasure by the Japanese government in 2004. At the age of 56, Nakagawa was the youngest artist ever to receive this honor, as the average recipient is over 80 years old. The title Living National Treasure is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated abilities and skills deemed to be critical to the essence of Japanese culture.
Kanazawa, his native city, developed as a castle town of the Kaga domain (present-day Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures), during the Edo period (1615–1868). It was known as a center of metal-inlay craftwork, supported by the feudal lords. However, the metal-inlay tradition, like other craftwork traditions withered under the pressures of industrialization and modernization since the Meiji Restoration. Nakagawa has been a seminal figure in a successful initiative to revive metal-inlay as an important genre of craftwork. He has enlivened the traditionally monotone realm of metal casting, for example, with an unprecedented palette of colors.
As the zogan technique is said to have originated around Turkey, the artist has visited the area more than ten times, following the route of the Silk Road, the cultural crossroads between the East and the West. Nakagawa identifies the roots of his metal-inlay techniques there in its amalgamation of East and West, as well as of tradition and innovation.
In 2008, one of his masterpieces Sekisei was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
- 2012 – 2013
- Asia Week,New York, US
- 1988 – 2013
- The Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition, Tokyo, Japan
- 2009 – 2013
- Onishi Gallery, New York,US
- SOFA, New York, US
- The British Museum, London, UK
- Danish Museum of Art and Design, Copenhagen, Danemark
- Mitsukoshi Etoile, Paris, France
- Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Public Collections (partial listing)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York / The British Museum, London / Victoria and Albert Museum, London / 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa / Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art, Kanazawa / Jingu Museum, Ise / Kanazawa College of Art, Kanazawa / Kyushu Sangyo University, Fukuoka