One of the most interesting things for the exhibitions team is discovering the way the objects from Phantoms of Asia have been packed. Since we have loans from so many different countries—over a dozen—all the packing was really different.
I was impressed with the shipment from Japan which includes an object from a private collection, Kasuga Deer Deity. It is a collaborative work: some of the parts are as old as Heian Period (794-1185) and some are as new as 2010. One of the newer parts is a tiny reproduction, made by the artist Yoshihiro Suda, of the sakaki plant (Cleyera japonica), which grows in East Asia. The sakaki is an evergreen that is considered sacred in the Shinto religion. This piece is extremely fragile and we were concerned that it might not be able to withstand the rigors of traveling from Japan.
Fortunately some of the best packing in the world comes from Japan, including this amazing little box designed to protect the tiny tree in transit.