August 18, 2018

Chrysanthemum and Falcon, Carl Alexander and Japan

Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Saxony, 1818–1901) established his first diplomatic relations to the Empire of Japan at the 5th World Fair in 1873. During the following years, he not only engaged himself for Christian missionary work, but also promoted scientific and economic exchange. Thanks to the mediation of the Japan expert Alexander von Siebold, Carl Alexander purchased a collection of exquisite Japanese woodcuts and illustrated books, as well as a collection of Japanese weapons. They served as exemplary collections and inspired artisan craftwork in this region.

As a sign of their friendship, the then Japanese Emperor Meiji the Great (Mutsuhito) and Grand Duke Carl Alexander awarded each other their highest honours, the Chrysanthemum Order and House Order of Vigilance (Hausorden der Wachsamkeit), or the White Falcon as it was also known. The exhibition illustrates the surprisingly multifarious relationships between the Weimar Grand Ducal Court and Nippon with documents and works largely unknown until now.

For further information:

Weimar Castle: https://www.weimar.de/?id=100&tx_eventcal_calendar[event]=135733

Imperial Household of Japan: http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/eindex.html

Embassy of Japan to Germany (HE Ambassador Takeshi Yagi): http://www.de.emb-japan.go.jp

Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Alexander,_Grand_Duke_of_Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

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