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(Left Photo) Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado (front and centre) tours the ROM's new Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan with Soshitsu SEN XVI, Grand Master Urasenke Chado Tradition (far right), Japanese Ambassador to Canada Sadaaki Numata (second from right), Royal Ontario Museum Director and CEO William Thorsell (second from left) and Klaas Ruitenbeek, Senior Curator, The Louise Hawley Stone Chair of Far Eastern Art (left). (Right photo) Earlier in the day, Grand Master Sen conducted a special Tea Ceremony for the Princess and other special guests.
The long-awaited Official Opening of the Royal Ontario Museum's (ROM) new Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan was held on Jan.26 during with a gala dinner preceded by a private tea ceremony conducted by Soshitsu SEN XVI, Grand Master Urasenke Chado Tradition and a VIP reception. Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado of Japan was in attendance, as well as a number of special guests, donors and volunteers involved with the Japan initiative at the ROM. including Japanese Ambassador to Canada Sadaaki Numata and Consul General of Japan in Toronto Hisao Yamaguchi. Works by Ikebana Masters Professor Seiha Sugihara and Professor Yasuhito Sasaki of the Ikenobo school adorned the museum's Rotunda area.
The gallery, a facet of the museum's major expansion initiative known as Renaissance ROM, is named after the late His Imperial Highness Prince Takamado, who studied at Queen's University, and whose deep affection for Canada was well-known. In support of the gallery named after her late husband, when Princess Takamado last visited the ROM in 2004, she accepted the museum's request that she act as Honorary Patron of the Renaissance ROM Campaign Cabinet and the museum's Japan Initiative.
"When we began Renaissance ROM many months ago, we recognized there existed within our vaults a hidden treasure-Canada's most significant collection of Japanese art," explained ROM Director and CEO William Thorsell in his remarks during dinner. "Of the 6,000 Japanese artifacts within our vaults, most were of a very high quality and broadly representative of Japan's distinct contribution to world arts. The Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan features more than 600 objects from our outstanding collection of Japanese objects, including ceramics, porcelain, tea ceremony utensils, sculpture, prints and paintings, lacquers, and armour."
"No stranger to Canada herself, Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado has visited every major region of our country and, like her late husband, possesses a great affection for the land and its people," Mr. Thorsell said of the Princess when introducing her to speak. The Princess responded by recalling the Prince's love for Canada, associating his experiences in this country to the importance placed on individual meetings by the teachings of the Tea Ceremony. She expressed her wish that the gallery serve to enhance understanding of Japan among Canadians, notably young people.
Ron Korb, the celebrated Toront flautist who is partly of Japanese descent, gave a performance of a piece he composed in memory of Prince Takamado, especially comissioned by the ROM. Mr. Korb also gave a full performance with his band the following evening in the museum's theatre. Details of that performance are available here.
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