How to Search for Materials

Different reference materials may be useful depending on what you want to research or find out. This is an introduction to the types of material at the National Crafts Museum Art Library with some examples of how to search for materials appropriate to information you need.

Reference Materials

Note: Some links to the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) are displayed.

Exhibition Catalogue

Materials published when exhibitions are held at museums containing information about the exhibition and the works on display. Many exhibition catalogs contain detailed information about works and artists relating to the exhibition, as well as the latest research and references at the time of the exhibition. There are solo, group, and collective exhibitions.

Catalogs of the National Crafts Museum

Catalogs of past exhibitions at the National Crafts Museum (MOMAT Crafts Gallery).

Books and collections of works about all areas of crafts

Useful if you want to find out how a specific work was made and what other works are available.

Artists’ writings, critical biographies, collections of works

Useful materials if you want to find out more about artists. Learn about the works and careers of artists from their own words.                                                                 Critical biographies and papers by researchers and others will deepen your understanding of the artists and their works.

Collection Catalogue

Materials about works held at art museums, or works in specific collections.

Journal Article

Articles about artists and exhibitions often have useful interviews and exhibition reviews.                                               Bulletins published by art museums or universities provide information on research in various fields.

Specific examples (Work)/Specific examples (Artist)

Specific examples (Work)

What resources are available if I want to find out how an object is made?
Let’s search the reference materials for information about maki-e, one of the representative lacquer techniques.

①Enter the keyword maki-e in the Search field.

Clicking on Search returns about 190 hits.
Since this is a large number, we will filter the results for Books. This narrows down the hits to about 55.
This search finds books about maki-e and collections of works by craftspeople who specialize in maki-e.

If you look at a few of the books, it is clear that maki-e is a lacquer art technique.

If you filter the results by Exhibition Catalogs, the results will be narrowed down to catalogs for exhibitions of maki-e works or artists who specialize in the maki-e technique. Catalogs are a good source of basic information since they contain explanations related to exhibitions, such as commentary on the works or explanations of the terminology. If you want to find catalogs for recent exhibitions, filter the results by selecting 2020–2022 under Year of Publication.
Changing the keywords to lacquer techniques, lacquer art, lacquer craft, or other similar terms, will return results that introduce other lacquer techniques and their history. Try out different keywords to see how the results change.

Specific examples (Artist)

Exhibition catalogs and collections of works are useful for finding brief biographies or pieces by specific artists.
Let’s try to search the reference materials for information about Sugiura Hisui, one of the artists in our collection.

①Enter Sugiura Hisui in the search field

②Clicking on Search returns about 85 hits.                                                 If you select Exhibition Catalogs under Categories, the results will be narrowed down to catalogs for past exhibitions.

③If you select the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo under Publisher, the results will be further narrowed down to catalogs for exhibitions held at the National Crafts Museum.

Most exhibition catalogs include bibliographies in the back matter. The bibliography is a list of resources that cannot be found simply by searching databases, from the basic literature to the latest research papers. This kind of information is also helpful.
You will find many resources while trying out these different search methods.

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