Chanoyu - The Way of Tea
The tradition of Chanoyu, or the Way of Tea, has been regarded as the highlight of the Japanese Renaissance since it was created over 500 years ago.
The culture was based on its timeless Zen principles of Harmony, Respect, Purity and Tranquility.
This perspective created a unique foundation upon which all of the Japanese Arts was developed. This included the highly stylized art of Japanese garden design, calligraphy, ceramics and flower arrangements. It also continued to influence every corner of Japanese life including food, clothing, music, architecture, dance and literature.
The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden was designed as the ultimate transmigration of a cultural treasure from the East for all human beings in the West to appreciate. We are proud to preserve this tradition to demonstrate their relevance in the modern context of the West today.
With deep gratitude the Hammond Museum celebrates the life of Koichi Yanagi (1965-2021)
Renowned dealer Koichi Yanagi passed away in Kyoto on January 17th at the age of 56. Koichi devoted his life to the appreciation of Japanese art and culture throughout the world and facilitated the acquisition of exquisite art objects by highly regarded public and private collectors.
Born in Kyoto on March 3, 1965, Koichi was the son of pre-eminent dealer Yanagi Takashi and so from an early age was surrounded by fine examples of Japanese art. Koichi moved to New York City in his 20s and in 1991 opened Koichi Yanagi Oriental Fine Arts. His third location, at 17 East 71st St., was a refined space that reflected the Japanese preference for natural materials and serene understatement. Their exhibitions were noted for featuring only a few choice items of the highest quality, accompanied by a scholarly catalogue presentation, and displayed with utmost sensitivity and artistry. In addition to being a member of AWNY, the gallery also exhibited with the Japanese Art Dealers Association (JADA).
Koichi Yanagi in his gallery at 17 E. 71st Street, New York in 2018. Photo courtesy of Julia Meech.
His passing is a grave loss, and we will miss the creativity and connoisseurship that Koichi brought to his engagement with Japanese art and shared with like-minded friends. The best summation was written by Holland Carter in his review in The New York Times of the gallery’s Spring 2002 exhibition Shinto, “It’s possible that there are more beautiful gallery shows in Manhattan right now than this one, but I haven’t seen any.”
Koichi Yanagi Oriental Fine Arts sold Japanese paintings, ceramics—antique and contemporary—lacquerwares and tea ceremony accouterments to museums throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. A few noteworthy examples from the gallery that are now in American museums include the 16th century Portrait of a Warrior in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a 17th-century lacquer inkstone box (suzuribako) and Maple Leaves on a Stream/Mountain Views by Ikeda Koson, both now in the National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution. One of the gallery’s especially interesting sales reunited the Cleveland Museum of Art’s important Kamakura-period sculpture of En no Gyōja with the depictions of Zenki and Koki that originally flanked it.
These same museums, and numerous others, were also the recipients of the generosity of Koichi and his wife Yuko Hosomi Yanagi, as they donated many paintings and tea ceremony vessels to, among those institutions listed above and others, the Brooklyn Museum, Princeton Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2010, Koichi arranged for the transport and donation of a tea room from Kyoto to the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden in North Salem, New York, where it was installed in the Hammond’s library.
Koichi Yanagi and other guests, Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden tea room, 2010
His passing is a grave loss, and we will miss the creativity and connoisseurship that Koichi
brought to his engagement with Japanese art and shared with like-minded friends. The best summation was written by Holland Carter in his review in The New York Times of the gallery’s Spring 2002 exhibition Shinto, “It’s possible that there are more beautiful gallery shows in Manhattan right now than this one, but I haven’t seen any.”