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Miner Museum unveils new exhibit of Japanese art

CHAZY A new exhibit at the Alice T. Miner Museum opens this weekend, showcasing a series of Japanese woodblock prints. Warriors and Entertainers will open this Saturday, July 12, after nearly three years of planning, said Amanda A. Palmer, director and curator for the Miner Museum. The prints have been professionally conserved and have been studied by experts in the field of Japanese prints, Roger Keyes and, most recently, David Waterhouse, who has written the essay for the catalog of the exhibit, explained Palmer. The prints were acquired by Alice Miner in the mid-1920s, with advice by a Chicago collector, Emma Hodge. The prints are actually from the 17th to 19th centuries, and, according to Palmer, should be protected from light and humidity. They will be shown in low light for a limited time to allow our public to enjoy their beauty and then be carefully stored to preserve them for all time, Palmer said, explaining why the exhibit will not be permanently showcased in the museum. The prints themselves originated in what is now modern Tokyo, according to the Miner Museums Web site. They are also referred to as ukiyo-e, or pictures of the floating world. When asked what this means, Palmer explained it with a quote by novelist Ryoi in his Ukiyo Monogatari, or Tales of the Floating World. The quote reads: Living only for the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves; singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating, floating; caring not a whit for the pauperism staring us in the face, refusing to be disheartened, like a gourd floating along with the river current: this is what we call the floating world. While influenced by the Colonial Revival Movement and by other collectors, Alice T. Miner was a sophisticated collector in her own right, Palmer said. She embraced the decorative arts ceramics, furniture, textiles and glass. Her collection did not stop with objects of everyday life, however. The Warriors and Entertainers exhibit at the museum will display prints ranging from scenery to images of courtesans, warriors and Kabuki actors, said Palmer. Tours of the new exhibit will be given Tuesday through Saturday, at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. The works will be on display until Oct. 25. For more information about the Alice T. Miner Museum, visit the museums Web site, www.minermuseum.org, or call the museum at 846-7336.

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