Apr 2017
Aug 2017
  • Kyoto (Japan)

  • One off event
  • location: The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
  • address: 26-1, Okazaki Enshoji-cho, Sakyo-ku - 606-8344
  • tube: Get off at Higashiyama Station of Kyoto City subway Tōzai Line and you are within a 10-minute walk from the Museum
  • phone: +81 (75) 761 4111
  • email: [email protected]
  • web: www.momak.go.jp/
  • opening hours:

    Tuesday-Sunday 9:30am-5 pm with extended visiting hours on Friday and Saturday until 8pm. Closed on Mondays, 13 June and 18 July.

Van Cleef & Arpels has shipped precious items from its heritage collection to Kyoto to establish a unique bond between high jewellery - an emblematic example of French savoir-faire - and the Millennial history of the traditional crafts in Japan.

Beautifully staged by the acclaimed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the exhibition is divided into three thematic areas designed to celebrate the beauty of handmade works of art emanating from Van Cleef & Arpels’ Parisian’s workshops and works made by Kyoto’s refined craftsmen. Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, was renowned for its elegant society and culture, attracting the country’s finest craftsmen to produce objects of exquisite beauty for their wealthy clientele.

The first section provides an overview of Van Cleef’s history, from the foundation of the Maison in 1906 to the present day, illustrating stylistic trends and exclusive production techniques developed by the Maison. Objects ranging from minaudières - sophisticated bejewelled evening bags bearing Van Cleef’s acclaimed “mystery setting” - to the mesmerising (and fully functional) Zip necklace, the 80 works on display reflect the spirit of this Parisian legend that was a second home to European royalty and countless aristocrats.

In the second section, visitors will be treated to a compare and contrast session comprised of works by Van Cleef & Arpels and works by Japanese craftsmen. Outstanding handmade items are referred to as pieces of “transcendental workmanship” in Japan and are appreciated and valued as works of fine art. Clothing made with gold brocade, objects made using the lacquer technique known as maki-e and ceramics and cloisonné enamel comprise some of the 50 objects of Japanese crafts on display, placed alongside 100 works of high jewellery by Van Cleef & Arpels.

The last section of the exhibition is devoted to works by contemporary Japanese artists alongside Van Cleef high jewellery.  

ADMISSION: Adults 1,500 yen; University students 1,100 yen; high-school students 600 yen.

Not to be missed Not to be missed

The miniature Van Cleef & Arpels model of the Varuna Boat floating in a sea of jade, a special commission from a wealthy New Yorker allowing him to envision the boat of his dreams; the amazing mystery setting of stones on a Van Cleef Fuschia clip; and the sublime works of contemporary Japanese craftsmen.


  • Kyoto
  • address: 26-1, Okazaki Enshoji-cho, Sakyo-ku
  • tube: Get off at Higashiyama Station of Kyoto City subway Tōzai Line and you are within a 10-minute walk from the Museum

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