Online lecture: British Collecting of Tea Ceramics from Meiji Japan (with Ai Fukunaga)

Date of event:   26/03/2022 − 26/03/2022

Title: British Collecting of Tea Ceramics from Meiji Japan
Format: Online (booking is necessary)
Speaker: Ai Fukunaga
Date: Saturday, 26 March 2022
Time: 12.00 noon (GMT) / 9.00 pm (JST) / 7.00 am (ET)
Organized by: The Japan Society, London, UK


Museum collections of Japanese ceramics in Britain include numerous utensils for whipped tea (matcha) and steeped tea (sencha) gatherings along with diverse vessels for daily and special occasions collected from Meiji Japan. Who collected them and why, and how did these objects obtain value in Britain around the turn of the twentieth century?

Tracing the collecting networks of the Sir Augustus W. Franks (1826–1897) collection at the British Museum, London and the Hon. Henry Marsham (1845–1908) collection at Maidstone Museum, Kent, this lecture will explore the value making process for objects used for two types of tea in the 1860s–80s and the 1880s–1900s, respectively. It will also look at how the Japan Society of London, founded in 1891, functioned as a new venue to discuss and present the subject.

This lecture is based on her doctoral thesis British Collecting of Ceramics for Tea Gatherings from Meiji Japan: British Museum and Maidstone Museum Collections (2021).


Ai Fukunaga is Curatorial Research Associate for Japanese Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2021, she was awarded PhD in History of Art and Archaeology from SOAS, University of London. She was an Assistant Curator of the Okada Museum of Art, Hakone for three years and was responsible for the East Asian ceramic collection until 2014. Her research interests include the transnational cultural exchange in creating, using, and collecting ceramics in the pre-modern to modern periods.


For more information, please visit the website here.


Image: Wooden shelf with crests of hollyhock and chrysanthemum containing Iwakurasan wares, circa 1907, Maidstone Museum, Kent.© Maidstone Museum