Skip to content

Rinpa today

Its focus on motifs and themes taken from nature and the everyday, as well as its abstract, decorative and graphic qualities, make Rinpa art accessible to a broad audience.

Few other artistic traditions established centuries ago in Japan’s pre-modern era continue to engage viewers today on the same level as Rinpa. This popularity might be explained in part by the enduring allure of Rinpa’s delicate curvilinear outlines. In addition, the simplified forms and the playful representation of subjects heighten the sense of the ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’ – kawaii – a trait that underscores much of present-day Japanese culture.

Rinpa motifs and modes of expression remain an ongoing source of inspiration for artists and designers. The diversity of work included in the contemporary section of the exhibition illustrates how Japanese artists have adapted, transformed and referenced Rinpa for visual culture today.

Akira Isogawa Tulip strap shibori dress with iris motif 2010, hand-printed silk crepe, nylon tulle, courtesy Akira Isogawa