The art of the late Middle Ages (the 17th – the first half of the 19th century) is represented well and extensively. It was the period of urban growth and flourishing of arts and crafts.
By this time the aesthetical concept of iki, implying the spirit of seductive, bright and sensual beauty, had come to the fore. The examples of ukiyo-e (translates as "picture of the floating world") coloured woodblock prints introduce the viewers to the most eminent masters, such as Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858), Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864) and others (Fig. 5). The artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as female beauties, kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers, scenes from history and folk tales, travel scenes and landscapes, flora and fauna, etc.
The section of miniature sculptures (netsuke and figurines okimono) occupies two special showcases in the Museum, including about two hundred items, dated to the 18th – early 20th century. Exhibits are grouped according to the themes employed in the netsuke: mythology, history, literature, theatre, folklore, genre scenes, animals, plants, daily objects (Fig. 6). These subject matters appealed to the taste of townspeople who were responsible for the artistic development in the Edo period (1603 - 1868).
The lacquer art is also represented, and first of all Maki-e (literally: «sprinkled picture») – special lacquer decoration technique in which pictures, patterns, and letters are drawn with lacquer on the surface of lacquerware, and then metal powder such as gold or silver is sprinkled and fixed on the surface of the lacquerware. It first appeared in the Heian period (794-185). Among the exhibited items are caskets, incense burners, teapots, a bundai reading and writing table, a scroll case, a food box, a smoking device, examples of inro (perfectly crafted boxes originally used to keep a personal seal and medicine). The pride of place in this part of the exhibition is held by shari-zushi, portable shrine-shaped reliquary in gold lacquer. By the using of masterly variations of gold chips and foil, a combination of relief and flat patterns, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, metal alloys and semiprecious stones, the masters achieved extraordinary colour and picturesque effects, for example, the radiance of gold on gold, or likening the gold placer to ink strokes (Fig. 7).
The section on porcelain incorporates Imari and Kakiemon wares produced in Arita kilns. Plates, bowls, vases with domed lids, objects made according to western models (a shaving basin, a coffee pot) demonstrate the features of the export style of decoration, which was flourishing under the influence of the foreign trade and was based on the creative interpretation of Chinese prototypes (Fig. 8). The exhibition also features the articles from Kutani, Hirado and Kyoto ranging in date from the 17th to the early 20th century as well as Satsuma earthenware of the Meiji period (1868-1912).