Sharing the hospitality of the cases with the embroidery pictures are the wood sculptures, some of which are intensely interesting, as, for instance, the “Man with the Spade.” The underlying idea of cubism is very intelligently embodied in this small figure, without any affectation. The many small woodblock prints to be seen here do credit to the reputation which Japanese artists have long enjoyed in this special field.
The remaining smaller galleries are given over to replicas of the originals of older art, modern sculpture, and painting in the modern style. Why the modern Japanese artists want to divorce themselves from the traditions of their forefathers seems incomprehensible. There is not a thing in the western style in this gallery of Japanese painting that comes anywhere near giving one the artistic thrills won by their typically Japanese work. I think the sooner these wayward sons are brought back into the fold of their truly Oriental colleagues, the better it will be for the national art of Japan, the most profound art the world has ever seen.
The first impression of the Chinese section is disappointing. There is no real life in any of the work here displayed, and most of it consists of modern replicas — some of very excellent quality — of their oldest and best art treasures. The Chinese seem to be absolutely content to rest upon their old laurels, the fragrance of which can hardly ever be exhausted; but nevertheless that does not relieve them of the obligation of working up new problems in a new way. There is so much religious and other sentiment woven into their art that to the casual observer much of the pleasure of looking at the varied examples of applied art is spoiled by the necessity of having to read all of the longwinded stories attached to many of them. The freshness of youth, the spirit of progress, which enliven the Japanese section, are entirely missing in this display, which seems like a voice from the past — a solemn monument to an old civilization without any connection with the New Republic and its modern pretensions. I am afraid China is laboring under conditions of internal strife which are detrimental to the development of any artistic expression.