Breaking out of Tradition traces the pioneering developments in lacquer art at the beginning of the 20th century in Japan. The lacquer artists of that time adopted a critical and creative approach to the centuries-old traditions, experimenting with innovative techniques and new materials, thereby also providing new stimuli for Western art.
The publication examines the revolution in Japanese lacquer art from the end of the 19th until the middle of the 20th century. In an era marked by political and cultural change the founding of art societies and academies led to the strengthening of artists as individuals. Traditional values stood in opposition to modern tendencies, in many cases coming from the West. In the search for a modern identity, lacquer art experienced a golden age characterised by creativity, innovation and a wealth of ideas.