08 November 2022

The Spazio Tesoro changes look!

A rare tabernacle on display

From 9 to 15 November, the Spazio Tesoro at Villa Malpensata (which can be visited free of charge) will not be accessible due to ongoing works.

From 16 November to 4 June 2023, a rare Japanese tabernacle dating back to the 14th century will be on display in the east alcove of the Spazio Tesoro.

This is the first in a series of displays highlighting masterpieces, which are distinguished by their uniqueness and preciousness.

The seigan (tabernacle), is a devotional object that made its appearance in Japan during the so-called 'Christian century', between the mid-16th century and the 1720s. Made between 1580 and 1620, the tabernacle containing an oil painting of a Madonna in Glory is today preserved in the Lugano collection of Vittorio Volpi. Entrepreneur, economist, journalist and writer, for over thirty years Vittorio Volpi worked in Tokyo as head of large international banks, making Japan his second home and Japanese art and culture a great passion that he cultivated with dedication. The work is made with typically Japanese techniques, materials and subjects influenced by a Western aesthetic. The result is a surprising hybrid art, the fruit of the encounters - but also the clashes - that characterised the world at the end of the 16th century.

At the museum bookshp you can buy the catalogue SEIGAN. UN CAPOLAVORO DEL GIAPPONE CRISTIANO edited by Moira Luraschi (Edizioni FCM, Lugano - CHF 28). The catalogue presents a review of all known tabernacles, preserved in collections of religious institutions, museums and private individuals. The description of the historical context in which the dynamics of the Japanese tabernacle were defined was aided by the valuable contribution of Vittorio Volpi himself, who has dedicated himself to Japan's 'Christian century' for years. The contribution by MUSEC researcher Moira Luraschi, on the other hand, aimed at clarifying the meanings of the seigan and its importance in the context of the Japanese missions, delves into the work on display and the devotional genre of which it is an expression.

Manifesto Seigan