Ōsumi Yukie: The Soul of Gold

2020年11月2日 - 12月19日


    In celebration of Ōsumi Yukie’s new book, “The Soul of Gold: Tales from a Japanese Metal Artist’s Studio,” this viewing room offers a glimpse into the insider world of traditional Japanese metalwork from the prespective of a Living National Treasure. 






    “Generally speaking, metal tends to be thought of as something that is hard and cold, but in reality it is soft and easily damaged. Of course, it’s true that metals can feel chilly to the touch, but they’re also marked by the way they can instantly absorb body heat and grow warm, a phenomenon not seen in other materials. When I work on a sheet of silver or copper and the metal in my hands grows warm from my own body heat, the two of us form a single entity as it starts to take the shape that I want.”


                                                                                         - Ōsumi Yukie                                                   

  • Silver Vase Kaikei (Seascape), 2019

    Silver Vase Kaikei (Seascape), 2019  

  • “I realize certain shapes and lines on my own. Something unseen tells me how to create a piece, something that will never remain still. But I want to make it stand still. I want to give it form, and eternally freeze it.” 

  • Nunomezōgan which literally translates to “textile imprint inlay,” is a technique in which ground metal is incised with a fine...

    Nunomezōgan which literally translates to “textile imprint inlay,” is a technique in which ground metal is incised with a fine chisel, creating vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. This crosshatching technique creates a surface with a cloth-like grain. 


    Historically, the techniques used in nunomezōgan can be traced back to Damascus, Syria. It was then carried to Spain and Portugal by Arab conquests, later reaching Japan through trade with the Nanban, or “Southern Barbarians,” as European merchants and missionaries were known in 16th century Japan.  While gold-inlaid swords existed during the fifth to eight centuries, it was not until the Momoyama period (1568 – 1600) that nunomezōgan was used for decorative purposes.

  • Ōsumi Yukie, Silver Plate Bogetsu (Full Moon), 1994

    Ōsumi Yukie

    Silver Plate Bogetsu (Full Moon), 1994

    The largest and heaviest piece that Ōsumi has made to date, the artist worked to counter the abrupt and sharp rims of metalware, and decided to “hide it all together” in Full Moon.


    “Compared to organic materials, metal possesses an unmatched combination of hardness and durability, qualities I find attractive for the way they stand in diametric opposition to the well-known Japanese aesthetic of ephemerality and transience.” 
                                                                                           - Ōsumi Yukie                                                   

  • Learn more about Ōsumi yukie