The Lister List

The Mingei Museum

Louise Yale asks where is the Mingei Museum.

The Mingei Museum is more correctly titled "Mingei International Museum of World Folk Art" and is situated at La Jolla, San Diego, California.

Remarkable as it may seem, I know, because I have been there!

Historically, the Mingei Museum has especial connections with Japan, as is implied by its name.

A few years ago, the original museum was demolished and by public subscription a fine, new, spacious and light museum was built in its place.

In 1985, before the museum was reconstructed, the Mingei held an important exhibition celebrating the paper arts called "Paper Innovations; Handmade paper and handmade objects of cut, folded and moulded paper." It ranged over all the paper arts, including origami and kirigami, fans and umbrellas and paper clothing. As might be expected, there was a major Japanese contribution to the exhibition.

A splendid catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition named "Paper Innovations". Paperbacked, 128 pages, with about half of the plates in full colour. The catalogue was published by the Mingei Museum with the ISBN 0-914155-04-0. It is possible that the Museum may still have copies.

One of the near neighbours of the Mingei Museum is Florence Temko. Some time ago, she gave most of her substantial collection of origami books to the museum (many of them of historical importance) and has stated her intention at some time to give the Museum further books which she has accumulated since then. Florence retains a close connection with the museum and during my visit I accompanied her to the museum library, where I was able to browse through the books and make notes on those which were especially interesting or significant.

I understand (but I am not certain), that the Mingei Museum is planning another exhibition of paper. Perhaps Florence can give us more details.

It is important that the whereabouts of collections of origami and origami books such as this should be more widely known. Otherwise they are rapidly forgotten and what is forgotten is lost. Florence, herself, recently had difficulties in tracing the Francis McNaul collection at Stanford.

In short - Use it or Lose it!


David Lister.

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Rabbit by Stephen O'Hanlon