Sunday, April 4, 2010

Teien Metropolitan Art Museum

One of the great pleasures of Meguro is the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. While now a museum, it was originally a house owned & lived in by members of the royal family. The timing of our visit was perfect, as usually you can't walk up into the rooms on the upper floors. Once a year during cherry blossom season they allow you to do this.

This year a special exhibit on Art Deco was on display. The museum used to be the residence of Prince Asaka, the eighth son of Prince Kuni, who lived here with his princess Nobuko, the eighth daughter of Emperor Meiji (not unlike many royal families, the Japanese Imperial household gets a little incestuous).

Anyway, it turns out that Prince Asaka & his wife were hanging out in Paris in the mid to late 20's and really loved the Art Deco scene. They commissioned some of the great artists of Europe, including Rene Lalique, to fit out their place. In traditional Meiji era style, the Western style grounds are counter-balanced with the moderating influence of a Japanese tea house on the grounds. The East meets West theme is further played out with a Western style garden giving way to a Japanese version. A very pleasant day. More photos here.

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