Mar 20
News
A collection of 230 sumptuous Japanese textiles was acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Dark blue-ground festival kimono decorated with sea creatures (detail), acquired from the collection of Thomas Murray. Courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Dark blue-ground festival kimono decorated with sea creatures (detail), acquired from the collection of Thomas Murray. Courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) acquired a major collection of 230 Japanese textiles through a hybrid gift and purchase from Thomas Murray, a collector of Asian and tribal art based in the Bay Area. The acquisition, announced March 12, includes a huge range of Japanese clothes and textiles made for a variety of purposes and spanning the 18th century to the 20th century. The trove includes rare and colorful kimonos, textiles used by fishermen and farmers, and elaborate clothes made by the Ainu people of Hokkaido island in northern Japan from materials including elm bark cloth and salmon skin.

Siberian salmon-skin woman’s robe (back), acquired from the collection of Thomas Murray. Courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Siberian salmon-skin woman’s robe (back), acquired from the collection of Thomas Murray. Courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

In a statement, Andreas Marks, curator of Japanese and Korean art at Mia, said:

Built over nearly 40 years by a man with a fantastic eye for textiles, a collection of this importance and breadth could not be put together today. Mia is thrilled to be the recipient of these important textiles, which will catapult us amongst the foremost collections of Japanese textiles in the world.

Some 120 items from the acquisition will be showcased in a special exhibition next year at Mia.

Red, blue, and white kaparamip robe (back), acquired from the collection of Thomas Murray. Courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Red, blue, and white kaparamip robe (back), acquired from the collection of Thomas Murray. Courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

White-ground Ryūkyūan robe (ryūso) with paired cranes pattern, acquired from the collection of Thomas Murray. Courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

White-ground Ryūkyūan robe (ryūso) with paired cranes pattern, acquired from the collection of Thomas Murray. Courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Art.