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San Antonio Museum of Art opens Japanese basket exhibition
Wada, Waichisai III (1899-1975), Flower Basket, 1945-72, Madake, rattan, wood and urushi covered metal beads, Object: 12.5 x 11 x 12 in., Otōshi: 10.75 x 3.875 x 3.875 in., Tomobako: 13.25 x 11.75 x 13 in., 4.6 lb., Collection of Carl & Marilynn Thoma, © Artist or artist estate, courtesy of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation, photo by TAI Modern.



SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The San Antonio Museum of Art opened Creative Splendor: Japanese Bamboo Baskets from the Thoma Foundation, a series of installations of Japanese baskets from the nineteenth century to the present.

SAMA is the first museum to showcase the baskets, on loan from the Thoma Foundation. The first of three installations is on view July 15 through January 1, 2023; two additional installations will follow. Each will feature approximately fifteen baskets.

“We are thrilled to present this unique, multi-year exhibition that highlights an artform we don’t currently have represented in our permanent collection,” said Emily Ballew Neff, PhD, The Kelso Director at SAMA. “We are grateful to the Thoma Foundation for loaning us their expansive collection and look forward to working with them for years to come.”

Creative Splendor: Japanese Bamboo Baskets from the Thoma Foundation will survey the outstanding accomplishments of Japanese basket makers from three regions of Japan: The Kansai region, which encompasses the ancient capital, Kyoto; the Kanto region, which stretches westward from Tokyo; and the southernmost island of Kyushu. The exhibition demonstrates the specific techniques and styles of cutting and weaving bamboo that are particular to each of these geographic regions.

“Bamboo basketmaking is a difficult craft that requires many years of training to learn how to prepare tough bamboo for weaving and knotting,” said Emily Sano, Coates-Cowden-Brown Senior Advisor for Asian Art. “In Japan, basket makers have achieved remarkable levels of skill to create both functional vessels and woven sculptures of great beauty. SAMA’s exhibition of this unique art form will amaze and inspire.”

This exhibition serves as a complement to SAMA’s extensive collection of Japanese art.

"Loaning artwork to distinguished museums such as the San Antonio Museum of Art embodies Carl and Marilynn Thoma’s longstanding intention to make art more accessible," said Holly Harrison, Director of the Thoma Foundation. "We are delighted that these exquisite examples of contemporary Japanese bamboo baskets will reach a broad audience throughout the course of this multi-year exhibition."

The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation recognizes the power of the arts to challenge and shift perceptions, spark creativity, and connect people across cultures. The Foundation lends and exhibits artworks and supports pivotal initiatives in the arts, providing grants to nonprofit organizations whose innovative projects and original ideas will advance scholarship in the arts. In addition, the Foundation funds initiatives beyond the artworld that strengthen community, leadership, and education in our targeted geographic region of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas










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