AIC/ Carved Transom – Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

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Carved transom [ramma] panels from the Phoenix Hall [Hooden] – by Takamura Koun

Transom Panels from Phoenix Hall at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition

Location: Art Institute of Chicago
Gallery 100 / Japanese Art Galleries

Wood with polychromy /  31 ¼  x  109 3/4  x  3 inches each.

In the Weston Wing for Japanese Art are four carved wooden architectural transoms (ramma panels) that were created by master Buddhist sculptor Takamara Koun for the Japanese pavilion, the Phoenix Hall, at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition here in Chicago.

The Phoenix Hall was Japan’s main national pavilion at the fair. Modeled on an 11th century temple outside Kyoto, it stood out against the beaux-arts buildings that made up the majority of the rest of the fair, the so-called “White City.” After the fair, the Japanese government gave the Phoenix Hall to the city of Chicago. However, two fires in 1945 and 1946 (supposedly acts of arson) destroyed the structures and necessitated their demolition. The only four pieces of the building remaining were the four ramma panels.

Lost and Found: These four ramma panels were stored—and forgotten—by the city under the bleachers of Soldier Field until they were discovered there in 1973.

These icons of Chicago history and Japanese art were then separated: two panels were given to the Art Institute and two to the University of Illinois at Chicago. However, following UIC’s concerns over the condition of their ramma, their two panels were given to the Art Institute in order to better conserve and display them.

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 Panels from the Phoenix Hall  - by Takamura Koun

Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun / Gallery 100, AIC.

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 Panels from the Phoenix Hall [Hooden] - by Takamura Koun

Panel I / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

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 Panels from the Phoenix Hall [Hooden] - by Takamura Koun

Panel II / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

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 Panels from the Phoenix Hall [Hooden] - by Takamura Koun

Panel III / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

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 Panels from the Phoenix Hall [Hooden] - by Takamura Koun

Panel IV / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

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 Panels from the Phoenix Hall  - by Takamura Koun

Panel I – Details / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

 

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Panel I - Details / Panels from the Phoenix Hall  - by Takamura Koun

Panel I – Details / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

 

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Panels from the Phoenix Hall  - by Takamura Koun

Panel II – Details / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

 

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Panels from the Phoenix Hall  - by Takamura Koun

Panel II – Details / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

 

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 Panels from the Phoenix Hall  - by Takamura Koun

Panel III – Details / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

 

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 Panels from the Phoenix Hall  - by Takamura Koun

Panel III – Details / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

 

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 Panels from the Phoenix Hall  - by Takamura Koun

Panel IV – Details / Panels from the Phoenix Hall – by Takamura Koun

 

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