Golden Shells exhibition at the NGV

Pauline Gandel’s love of Japan and its arts and culture is no secret, but her ongoing involvement, support and commitment to the art of Japanese lacquer occupies a special place in her heart. Pauline’s collection of Japanese lacquer has grown to become probably the most significant such collection in Australia, and she is equally passionate about preserving the ancient craftsmanship and techniques of the art of lacquer making.

The opening of the exhibition at the NGV titled “Golden Shells and the Gentle Mastery of Japanese Lacquer” is a culmination of more than 3 years of work. The beauty and artistry of the historical Japanese ‘shell matching’ game, kai-awase, is celebrated in the exhibition, with a contemporary 720-piece set commissioned by Pauline.

Comprising two Japanese lacquerware shell boxes and 360 gilded clam-shaped shells, each decorated with hand-painted Japanese and Australian flowers, this new edition of the game is the only complete example known to be in existence and provides audiences with a rare opportunity to admire the craftsmanship behind this centuries-old pastime.

The shells and other lacquer exhibits from Pauline’s collection are on display at the Pauline Gandel Gallery of Japanese Art at the NGV until April 2022.