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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.

“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.

Woodcut “Portrait of actor Kōraiya Kinshō” by Toshūsai Sharaku

Toshūsai Sharaku is one of the most enigmatic Japanese artists. The woodcuts signed with his name come from the period between May 1794 and January 1795. A total of about 150 Sharaku card images depict actors from the Kabuki theatre; these are projects with a completely different new form of expression, often close to a caricature.

Shrine with the Senju-Kannon Bosatsu figure

The portable shrine with the image of Senju-Kannon Bodhisattva (Japanese: Bosatsu) was made with the use of the most valued techniques, and the precision of the fine exposure of details emphasises the high class of the exhibit.

Painting “Portrait of the Artist's Wife: In the Summer Apartment” by Józef Mehoffer

This painting, characteristically shaped as a vertically extended rectangle, is a portrait of the artist's wife against a background of the interior of a summer apartment. This piece was created in 1904 in Zakopane, where the Mehoffers rented a newly completed wooden highland house for a few months.

Painting “Frenzy” by Władysław Podkowiński

Along with Józef Pankiewicz, Władysław Podkowiński is considered to be the precursor of impressionism in Polish art painting. His works also gave rise to Symbolism and Expressionism trends in Polish Modernism. About 1892 Podkowiński’s oeuvre began to feature visionary and phantasmagoric depictions of the issues of love, suffering and death inspired by his personal experiences, with references to achievements by Western European symbolists.

Woodcut “Oiran Yosooi from the Matsuba-ya Pleasure House” by Kitagawa Utamaro

Beautiful women of the oiran offered an attractive subject for artists dealing with Japanese wood engravings; it peaked in the Edo epoch (1603–1868). Elusiveness and passing, so strongly featured in the philosophy of this period, made people seize the current moment and celebrate the joy stemming from watching flowers or admiring the Moon.

Woodcut “Bright Weather after the Snow Storm in Kameyama” by Utagawa Hiroshige

Utagawa Hiroshige occupied a special place in the collection by Feliks Jasieński: the collection gathered more than 2,000 woodcut boards by this artist. The abundantly represented landscape genre helps us appreciate Hiroshige as an artist who was considered to be the master of recreating the mood created by snow, rain and fog.

Hoshi kabuto helmet with shikami decoration

The collection of military items from the Far East in the National Museum in Kraków includes over one thousand exhibits, from which the most numerous are Japanese works. Armours and helmets belong to extremely valuable specimens and although they mostly come from the Edo period (1603–1868), we can admire the Japanese masters’ superb craftsmanship in them.

Painting “Helenka with a Vase” by Stanisław Wyspiański

Portraits of children occupy a special place in Wyspiański’s artistic oeuvre. Without the unnecessary sentimentalism, treated in a natural, affectionate manner with a great dose of sensitivity and realism, and captured in new and unexpected depictions, they refreshed the usual connotations related to this genre.

Cabinet with pictures of saints

This piece of furniture is an example of the small cabinets that were popular in the 2nd half of the 17th and the 1st half of the 18th century. Its typical elements include a small wooden body with a folding door, small drawers, a hiding place, and a metal open-work decoration on the sides made of engraved iron sheet with a set of stylised plant motifs, figures of people, angels, and animals.

Painting “Self-portrait with wife” by Stanisław Wyspiański

Wyspiański left twelve self-portraits. Every one of them is a fascinating record of the physical change and current emotional state of the artist according to his often-repeated belief stating that “man (...) changes irretrievably; they are changed by their experiences and thoughts. A portrait is a reflection of a moment, an artistic reflection seizing things in their very essence.”

Sculpture “Feliks Jasieński’s bust” by Konstanty Laszczka

Feliks Jasieński (1861—1929), pseudonym Manggha, the outstanding connoisseur of art, patron and collector; he was broadly educated and talented musically. He exerted a considerable influence on the art culture of Kraków at the turn of the 20th century by his activity in the field of arts, his views, publications, and also by making the gathered collections available, including the rich collection of Japanese and Western European drawings and utilitarian objects from the Far East.