NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The pair of Satsuma vases will be exhibited at the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE as a part of the exhibition series "Asian Art Stories". Satsuma ware is a well-known Japanese export pottery type and these particular vases were one of the first Asian art gifts for the State Museum of Art in the 1920s.

The pair of Satsuma vases, which are on view at the exhibition, were made during the Meiji Period (1868–1912). This was a time of political and cultural transformation in Japanese history. After being closed off for more than 200 years, Japan opened its borders and rapidly became a modern, industrial and, in its own way, Western country. During this era, Satsuma ware became very popular in Europe and America. It is believed that Satsuma ware was made to enchant Westerners. One can say it succeeded because admirable Satsuma ware can be found in almost every art museum in the West.


Authentic form, ivory colour, high-quality lacquer craquelure and sophisticated painting are only a small part of what identifies Satsuma ware. The paintings on Satsuma export pottery were one of the reasons why Japanism flourished in the West at the beginning of the 20th century. This was characterized by the European enthusiasm for Japanese art, its copying, as well as the borrowing of its various elements in Western culture. If you look closely, the exhibited pair of Satsuma vases shows these connections. Irises, which are displayed on these items, play an important role in Japanese culture, and also they were one of the most widely used motifs in Art Nouveau in the late 19th – early 20th century, a style of Western art, which decorative expression has been influenced by Japanese art.


The exhibition series Asian Art Stories produced by the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE encourages to discover and understand certain artworks, techniques, functions as well as their philosophical, religious, cultural, and contextual significance. Western viewers have always been fascinated with the Asian art by its extraordinary form, technique and aesthetic view. The Asian Art Collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art has several thousand artworks from different Asian countries, however, only part of them are exhibited in the Oriental Gallery of the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE. By showing one artwork or a group of objects, within the exhibition series, we will discover these exceptional stories that often remain unheard.

The project was implemented with the support of the State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia (SCCF) within the programme Creation of Future Cultural Content in All Cultural Sectors in order to reduce the impact of Covid-19.



Kristīne Milere, Exhibition Curator, Art Museum RIGA BOURSE / Latvian National Museum of Art




Gallery name: RIGA BOURSE

Address: Doma laukums 6, Riga

Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10:00 - 18:00

Open: 15.12.2020 - 29.08.2021