The Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology was created due to the passion of Krystyna Zachwatowicz and Andrzej Wajda. In 1987, Wajda donated his Kyoto Prize, awarded for his lifetime achievements, to support the creation of the centre. After many years of effort, and backed by many private individuals (public fund raising was organised among the Japanese railway men), all the  necessary funds were collected for the construction of the Centre of Japanese Culture in Kraków. The museum was built according to Arata lsozaki’s design and in partnership with Ingarden&Ewy studio based in Kraków. The centre finally opened on 30 November 1994.
Currently, among the collections at the centre you can find various woodcuttings, collections of contemporary Japanese and Polish posters, photographs, Andrzej Wajda’s drawings, fans, Noh Theatre masks, sculptures, ceramic utensils and kimonos. It also exhibits art objects from the Far East, which come from Feliks “Manggha” Jasieński’s collection and are stored there on behalf of the National Museum in Kraków.
The Museum focuses not only on displaying art pieces, but also on the promotion of Japan in general and other countries of the Far East. This promotion encompasses various forms: from stage performances in a form of the traditional Noh theatre to the Butoh dance, which combines tradition and modernity and also gatherings with ceremonies of brewing tea, readings of Japanese fairy tales, calligraphy and origami workshops, the organisation of concerts, symposiums, and learning the Japanese language.
Manggha is an exceptional meeting place whose architecture, inspired by one of the most recognisable woodcuttings by Hokusai showing fishermen in a boat drifting on a huge wave, fits nicely into the area of one of the most popular walking routes along the Vistula River.
Close to the building a stone garden with a pond can be found. We can also discover a tea house or relax, for a few moments in the surroundings of... a bamboo grove, which actually serves a practical purpose as it helps to enrich the diet of a red panda from the Kraków zoo.

Elaborated by the editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

 

Photograph by Rafał Sosin, © all rights reserved

ul. Marii Konopnickiej 26
30-302 Kraków


phone 12 2672703
phone 12 2673753
Fax 12 2674079
page museum

Opening hours

Monday
closed
Tuesday  — Sunday
10.00 — 18.00

Ticket Prices

normal 20 PLN reduced 15 PLN family 35 PLN group ticket for groups of up to 30 100 PLN Tuesday — free admission

“Miroir Rouge d'Impermanence” (“Red mirror of impermanence”) — sculpture by Aliska Lahusen

Have you ever touched a beautiful object made of lacquer? Sensuality would be the best word to convey its smooth texture. The same word can be applied to the minimalist works of Aliska Lahusen, which evoke a sensual feeling. They have been created using lacquer — one of the most sophisticated Japanese materials. It was deliberately used by the artist and it gives her sculptures a mystical character.

“Hanaire” flower vase used to decorate tea ceremonies

A Hanaire [花入], which is a flower vase used during the tea ceremony, can have many forms — standing, hanging, with a broad spout, or imitating a thin bamboo stem. Hanaire creators are not limited in terms of materials they can use, either. In tea rooms, one can encounter vases made of wicker, hollow calabash, and every kind of ceramic. Those lighter materials are used during summer gatherings; while heavier ones are chosen in winter.

“Hiratemae” imperial tea set used during the summer season

Chaji may last for several hours and during this time guests have the opportunity to taste thick koicha tea and light usucha tea, as well as to refresh themselves with a light dish or to taste sweets. All the elements are chosen specifically for such a meeting. In terms of form and motif, utensils should match the season and the occasion. Even the dishes reflect the seasonal characteristics of nature. When speaking about uniqueness of each chaji, the Japanese use a phrase ichigo ichie, meaning: the only meeting like this in life, and the cultivation of this lifestyle is called the Tea Way.

Two small vases ornamented with cranes in flight, placed against a dark blue background

The crane is one of the most important symbols of longevity in many Asian countries. When it is depicted in combination with other symbols, it takes on an additional, slightly different meaning, which is often deeper than the original one. This majestic bird with its beautiful body and feathers has become one of the most important symbols of the culture of Japan, as the Japanese are a people who observe the surrounding nature carefully and draw a lot of inspiration from nature.

Andrzej Wajda's journal of the performance of “The Wedding” (Stary Theatre, 1991)

Directors’ journals usually include unique notes concerning the production of a film or performance. They are notebooks in which all essential information is recorded – from their thoughts about the interpretation, suggestions for the arrangement of stage movements to the list of actors together with their telephone numbers. For the reader, it can be a treasury of knowledge on a stage or film adaptation of a work and offer an insight on the director's method of working. The presented journal of Andrzej Wajda is a record of his work on The Wedding by Stanisław Wyspański, which was staged in the Stary Theatre in Kraków in 1991.

“Hikifuda” advertising handbill with a depiction of a warrior on his way

Hikifudas were designed and sold by publishers. The most common motifs placed on cards were those of cranes, gods of fortune, as well as Mount Fuji. Designs depicting a specific type of activity were hardly ever made, as such orders were much more expensive. However, while creating a design, an empty space was left where a merchant could place some information about his shop or workshop. Such inscriptions, most often stylised as calligraphy, were usually written by hand. However, they could be also printed with woodcut matrix, almost like stamps.

“A Comic Book. Manggha and Wyspiański” – digital graphic artwork by Jakub Woynarowski

The idea of a comic strip about Feliks Jasieński, the Centre's patron, was the brainchild of Andrzej Wajda. The artwork was produced by Jakub Woynarowski in 2010, and it tells the story of a superhero – a Polish collector of Japanese art entangled in affairs of a social and health nature. Jakub Woynarowski keeps the story in perspective by using quite sophisticated, although simple looking means of expression – foreshortening, synthesis, as well as undertones.

Two creative sketches of the Manggha building by Arata Isozaki

According to legend, when Andrzej Wajda received a prize from the Inamori Foundation and promised that he would spend this prize on a new house of the Far East art collection, Arata Isozaki, the architect, declared that he would prepare the design of the future centre and donate it as a gift. And so it happened.

“Ima/Now” Calligraphy by Rikō Takahashi

The calligraphy depicts an ideograph Ima今 (Now) written with black ink on white paper. At the bottom of the work, to the right, there is a red seal with the letters Rikoh in the Latin alphabet. This is the artist's name written in one of the versions of the Japanese language transcription. Novices in painting and calligraphy were encouraged to carve their own seals − the art of carving seals was called tenkoku.

“Flower” calligraphy by Chuei Sekiguchi (alias Kyōso)

From the dawn of history, the Japanese have observed nature carefully. The elements of nature, including various flowers with their symbolic meaning, became frequent motifs used in art and ornamentation. To this day, these natural phenomena are reflected in Japanese customs and traditions. An old custom hanami (in Japanese watching flowers) is still hugely popular when, in spring, whole families have picnics under blossoming cherry trees.

“Suiseki” – “Kamogawaishi” type stone on a wooden mahogany base

Are stones precious? How precious can one stone possibly be? As it turns out, one stone can be very precious indeed, particularly if you consider Japanese Suiseki art stones. To quote Matsuura Arishige, whose Kamogawaishi stone on a mahogany base is part of the collection of the Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology: The word suiseki refers to a single stone that has as its shape or surface pattern the ability to signify something far greater than the stone in and of itself. It is a tradition that has evolved to its modern form over many centuries.”

“Komon” type kimono with a motif of maple leaves

A kimono is a Japanese dress and is an important part of this country's history, culture and tradition. Through the ages, its form has changed somewhat due to Chinese and Korean influence. It got its present shape, the letter T with broad sleeves frequently reaching the floor, during the late Edo period (1603–1868).

Wedding kimono “uchikake” with a motif of cranes in flight

The level of a kimono's formality is determined by the type, design and colour of its fabric, as well as the adjustment necessary for the occasion the kimono is intended for. At present, most women wear kimonos when practising traditional Japanese arts such as the ikebana and the tea ceremony, or during important family meetings. One such event is a Japanese wedding of Shinto rite. One of the kimonos included in the set of kimonos worn by the bride on that day is a red outer kimono uchikake.

The “snow” type “Ko-omote” mask of the “Nō” theatre

In the classic Japanese theatre, masks are the most important accessories of the leading actor shite. With these masks, an actor is able to impersonate characters of both real and imaginary worlds (e.g. a warrior, a young woman, an old man, as well as a demon, a god or a goddess, etc.). By putting on a mask, the character is transformed and the audience is able to discover their hidden secrets (e.g. the extraterrestrial origin of the character), or fierce feelings tormenting them (sorrow, envy, madness).

“Hakuji” vessel by Manji Inoue

The process of producing vessels of white porcelain is regarded as being exceptionally difficult, since, as it is baked in a furnace, small particles can easily permeate inside, and they can dye the porcelain forms, thus disrupting the whole process. One of the most outstanding contemporary hakuji artist is Manji Inoue (born 1929), the Japanese creator who was awarded, in 1995, with the honourable title of The Living National Treasure(Ningen Kokuhō).

“The Portrait of Shunkin” – a poster by Jan Młodożeniec

This poster created by Jan Młodożeniec stands out due to its interesting appearance which resembles the traditional Japanese woodcut ukiyo-e.

“Rashomon” – a poster by Wojciech Fangor

Rashomon is a poster by Wojciech Fangor and was created in tribute to the famous film of the same title. While this very film of 1950 brought the name of Akira Kurosawa to the top of the world cinematography, Wojciech Fangor's poster helped to popularise this work in Poland.

“Judo saga” — a poster by Jerzy Flisak

This poster by Jerzy Flisak is distinguished, above all, by its unusual display of two fighting figures depicted in the form of a white pictograph placed against a brown background. Naturally, the image brings to mind an association with the writing system used by the Japanese — kanji signs, and due to this connection, the poster is imbued with a deeper meaning. The author uses both a subtle pattern and a metaphor, and skilfully combines the images with a story.

“Winter” — a poster by Koichi Sato from the “Disappearing Japan” series

Mount Fuji is a major symbol of Japan and is placed even on banknotes. It is a holy mountain, the place where, according to beliefs, the protective gods of the country live. An expedition to its peak is like an entrance to a heavenly land bathed in golden light through a thick layer of clouds.

“Fugu” — a drawing by Andrzej Wajda

The fish depicted in the drawing is fugu (Latin Takifugu rubripes — a pufferfish), famous for the poison which can be found in its entrails (in particular, in its liver and ovaries), and spawn. The poison is tetrodotoxin, whose toxicity is many times stronger than the toxicity of cyanide. Because of the risk one takes while eating dishes made of fugu, this fish has a crowd of enthusiasts — those who gladly order fugu dishes prepared by qualified chefs, and artists who think about this fish as a motif in films and literature, an instrument of crime or suicide...