Nakagawa Mamoru Japanese, Living National Treasures, b. 1947

Recognized for his outstanding mastery of zōgan (metal-inlay), Nakagawa Mamoru was designated a Living National Treasure in 2004 at the age of 56 –the second youngest in history. Nakagawa has been a seminal figure in revitalizing metal-inlay as an important genre of decorative arts in Japan since its decline during the Meiji Restoration period. He has enlivened the traditionally monotone realm of metal-casting with an unprecedented palette of colors. Since the zōgan technique is said to have originated from Turkey, the artist has traveled there on numerous occasions, following the Silk Road, the cultural crossroads of eastern and western Asia. In 2008, he visited the United States on a cultural exchange fellowship under Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs. While on the fellowship in Washington, D.C., he taught a master class on the Kaga zōgan technique at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. The same year, Nakagawa’s work was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the museum’s first contemporary Japanese metalwork.


Selected Exhibitions:

2013 - 2023       Asia Week New York, US

2022                    Japan Traditional Kōgei Exhibition, Japan

2021 - 2022      Japan: A History of Style, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, US

2015                     SOFA Chicago, Illinois, US 

2013                     Contemporary Kōgei Styles in Japan, Morikami Museum, Florida

2008                     SOFA New York, US

2007                     Crafting Beauty in Modern Japan, British Museum, London, UK

Selected Public Collections

The Metropolitan Museum of Art | New York, US

The British Museum | London, UK

Victoria and Albert Museum | London, UK

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art | Kanazawa, Japan

Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art | Kanazawa, Japan

Jingu Museum | Ise, Japan