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Arts of Asia

The MFAH collections of art from China, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia reflect Houston’s diverse communities. Ancient and contemporary works are displayed together to create innovative juxtapositions.


Shogun's Wedding Gift
18th century
Wood with gold and silver maki-e designs on lacquer ground

Various dimensions

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc. in honor of its 15th anniversary; Nanako and Dale Tingleaf; the Japan Business Association of Houston; Stephen Hamilton; Dr. Ninan and Sushila Mathew; Barbara E. Butler; Keiji Asakura; and Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Lee Dunn III

Arts of Asia

This toilette set, called a chodo, includes a kyodai (large mirror stand with drawers), a wash basin and ewer, combs, boxes, and other components. The aoi crest, a circle enclosing a trifoliate pattern, appears on each piece, indicating that this set belonged to a member of the Tokugawa ruling clan.

Sets like these were commissioned as bridal trousseaux for members of daimyo and other senior samurai families marrying into the Tokugawa clan. The Tokugawa shogunate served as the central military government in Japan from 1603 to 1876. The title of shogun—an abbreviation of the title Sei-i-tai-shogun (Barbarian-Subduing Generalissimo)—was conferred on officers as early as the 8th century. After the warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu took power in 1603, shoguns were selected only from the Tokugawa clan and given absolute political authority.