Pacific Asia Museum
Pasadena, California 91101
Open Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 6pm
Korean Culture Night
The President of the Korean Arts Council John Suh and council members hosted a night of Korean art and culture at the museum on Saturday, July 16th. Over $10,000 was raised by the event and will be used to support the arts council’s activities and the museum’s current exhibition From the Fire: Contemporary Korean Ceramics.
The evening drew 120 guests including Dr. Mike Hong, Chairman of Bright World Foundation, a key sponsor of the event. There was a banquet dinner catered by Shinmi Restaurant as well as a ritual tea ceremony presented by the Korean Tea Ritual Association of Los Angeles.
Other highlights were a traditional Korean dance presentation performed by Lee Young-Hee and a classical music performance by members of the Korean Traditional Music Center. For more information on the Korean Arts Council and how you can become a member, please call ext. 15.
Object Conservation Collectors’ Circle member Cathleen Godzik
inspects the museum’s recently conserved
masterpiece Eagle in a Snowstorm by
Hokusai. The restoration was funded by
Ms. Godzik in memory of her father,
Francis J. Godzik and has been restored
to its original condition. The work was
donated to the museum by Marilyn
and George Brumder and is one of the
highlights of the Japanese collection.
The Collectors’ Circle has been instrumental in not only building the collection but restoring key works of art. For more information on how to join the Collectors’ Circle, please call ext. 37.
A Buddhist Nun Called Rengetsu
The Japanese Buddhist nun Rengetsu was a fascinating woman and a gifted poet, painter, potter and calligrapher. Over the past
few years, Pacific Asia Museum has been building an important collection of her pottery, calligraphy and poetry. In the following months, one of the museum’s longtime members will be gifting a fine group of ceramics and calligraphy by Rengetsu to the museum, enhancing the collection considerably.
Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875) was born in Kyoto and was sent as a young woman to serve at Kameoka Castle in Tamba, where she trained in Japanese traditional arts. Her adult life was full of love and loss. She married twice and bore three children, all of whom died. At the age of 33, after these tragedies, she became a nun, adopting the name, Rengetsu, or “Lotus Moon” and lived with her elderly stepfather, who had also taken vows, in the Chion’in temple in Kyoto. After his death in 1832, Rengetsu began making pottery and decorating it with her poetry, inscribed in delicate, feminine calligraphy. Her ceramics, which are primarily hand built tea utensils, sake bottles and cups, were extremely popular in her day, and orders from tea masters and other admirers of her work kept her very busy. Today, her work is highly prized by both Japanese and foreign collectors. She is considered one of Japan’s finest female calligraphers.
Thanks to the generosity of the Pacific Asia Museum Collectors’ Circle in 2002 and 2004, the Museum has been able to purchase a pair of tanzaku (narrow poetry cards) inscribed with her fine calligraphy and an elegant hanging scroll bearing her calligraphy on a floral background (see image at lower left). Thanks to our member’s promised gift, we will receive another fine tanzaku and several important utensils used in the traditional Chanoyu (powdered tea) tea ceremony and in the Sencha (steeped tea) tea ceremony. We are very excited that our collection of Rengetsu material is growing at such a steady pace. Ultimately, we hope to have enough of her ceramics, calligraphy and poetry to mount an exhibition of her work here at Pacific Asia Museum. For more information about this artist and to contribute to Pacific Asia Museum's collection of her work, please contact Meher McArthur at ext. 19.
Library Adds to Collection
The museum’s research library, located on the second floor of the building in what was Grace Nicholson’s “basket room,” is a significant resource for museum staff and volunteers and is also open to the public. With over 8,000 volumes, the library offers a range of books and periodicals supporting the major collecting areas of the museum.
Recent acquisitions have been made possible by the generous support of the museum’s Docent Council and a gift from long time member and donor, Dr. George Housner. We invite you to visit the library Wednesdays and Fridays from 12pm to 4pm and by appointment to explore some of the recent acquisitions which include among others:
- Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet by Ulrich von Schroeder
- Collecting Japanese Antiques by Alistair Seton
- Kawase Hasui: Complete Woodblock Prints by Kendall Brown
- Chinese Silk: A Cultural History by Shelagh Vainker
- Southeast Asian Textiles by Robyn Maxwell
Sally McKay, Librarian