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

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.

“Hikifuda” advertising handbill in the form of a calendar

Among the many hikifuda advertising handbills distributed by publishers to their customers, the most popular were those with motifs connected with the New Year, such as cranes and pine trees, as well as calendars. In Japan, there is a tradition of offering New Year’s wishes, and new year calendars are one of those obligatory presents given on this occasion.

“Stanisław Lem — Lifelike” — a drawing by Andrzej Wajda

In the collection of the Manggha Museum, there are 242 portraits by Andrzej Wajda in the Familiar faces series. One of them is a drawing signed by the author — Stanisław Lem — Lifelike. Indeed, the author has captured the resemblance perfectly using hatching and many strong lines, as in the case of the many other drawings of the series sketched on notebook pages or graph paper.

“Kiyomizu-dera, the Shrine of Clear Water” by Andrzej Wajda

In Kyoto, the former imperial capital city, you can find Kiyomizu–dera (清水寺), a complex of Buddhist shrines whose name derives from the waterfall of the river flowing on the hillside of Mount Higashiyama. The main pavilion of the shrine is dedicated to Goddess Kannon (a bodhisattva personifying compassion), and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions, famous for its vantage point based on a six-storey structure. Crowds of visitors come to this place both in spring, when the cherry trees are in bloom, and in autumn, when the maple leaves turn red.

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).

An album of woodcuts “One hundred views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai”, the 2nd volume

In the collection of the Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology, there is an edition of the work 100 views of Mount Fuji by Katsushiki Hokusai. Hokusai was one of the most famous Japanese artists and he created old ukiyo-e woodcuts (Japanese: a view of the world that passes away).

“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).

“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...

“Ise-katagami” dyeing stencil with a carp motif

The carps that appear here belong to those motifs which, despite reflecting Japanese symbols, seem familiar to the Europeans as well. According to the tradition brought to Japan from China, carps swim upstream so as to transform themselves into dragons, having first proven their strength and perseverance. Due to those features, they are also patrons of boys on their own day which used to be celebrated in Japan on 5 May (at present, this is Children's Day in Japan).

“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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

“Ise-katagami” dyeing stencil with a motif of “momiji” maple leaves and branches

A kimono is one of the first things that comes to mind when we think of Japan. We always see those traditional dresses exquisitely decorated with painted or embroidered designs. Each of them is decorated with the most beautiful and elegant patterns. However, there are also everyday kimonos with repeating, small patterns of flowers, birds, fans and other motifs. They are made using stencils such as the Ise-katagami, which the Japanese have been creating for 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).

“Fish” — a drawing by Andrzej Wajda

In Japan, carps are a symbol identified with boys, who wish to become as strong and persistent as those fish. Each year, during Japanese Children's Day, which formerly was solely Boys' Day, parents hang kites on flagpoles located near their houses resembling wind socks that indicate the strength and direction of the wind. They are in the shape of carps, and the colour of each carp is related to the person it symbolises: the black carp is for the father, the red one — for mother, other colours are for children. According to old beliefs, flags are hung high in order to attract the attention of protective gods that are high in the sky.

“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.”