Ueno Masao


1949-2019, Nagano, Japan

Exhibitions & Accolades
  • 1990

    Exhibition, Grizedale Sculpture Park, Grizedale Forest, Cumbria

  • 1991

    20th Contemporary Art Exhibition of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tokyo and Kyoto City Museum of Art, Kyoto

  • 1992

    Toride, Miyosi Village, Chiba Prefecture
    Exhibited at Gallery Muu, Kyoto

  • 1993

    The Bamboo City, River Side Gallery, Tokyo
    Exhibited at Gallery Casa, Fukui

  • 1994

    Snow Pagoda, Yamanobe, Yamagata Prefecture
    Pagoda of Leaves, Hibiya Park, Tokyo
    Bamboo Pagoda, Credo Hall, Hiroshima
    Basketry Art Exhibition, Studio Com, Kyoto
    Contemporary Art in the Peninsula Exhibition, Kamogawa City Gallery, Kamogawa

  • 1995

    Cherry Pagoda, Jardin de Wiltz, Luxembourg

  • 1996

    1996, Bamboo Arc , Commissioned Work, Manchester City Art Gallery, UK

    1996, Bamboo Pagoda on the Snow Commissioned, Yamanobe, Yamagata Prefecture

    1996, Circle in the Water, Awa Biennial ’96, Kamogawa City, Chiba Prefecture

    1996, Cut the Woven Circle, Sakura City Museum of Art

    Bend the Woven Circle, Sakura City Museum of Art
    Exhibited at Gallery Isogaya, Tokyo

  • 1997

    Three Woven Balls, Yoshida-machi, Saitama Prefecture and Yamanobe, Yamagata Prefecture
    Basketry Annual Exhibition, Sybaris Gallery, Royal Oak, MI
    Chiba Art Flash 97, Chiba City Gallery, Inage
    Exhibited at Comodo Art Plaza, Chiba City

  • 1998

    1998, 98 Cocoons, ARTE SELLA, Italy

    1998, Polaris,Shibayama Sculpture Festival, Chiba Prefecture

    The Japanese Aesthetic, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR
    Woven Nature Commissioned Work, Towada Hotel Entrance Hall, Akita Prefecture

  • 1999

    Three Woven Balls Commissioned, Tuyama Art Festival
    Artist in Residence, Imadate Exhibition of Contemporary Paper Art Works, Fukui Prefecture
    The Japanese Aesthetic, Duane Reed Gallery, Saint Louis, MO
    International Contemporary Basketmaking, Craft Council, London

  • 2000

    Season of Camellia, Sakura City Museum of Art

  • 2001

    Formals and Contrasts, Sybaris Gallery, Royal Oak, MI

  • 2003

    Bamboo in Old Japan, Zurich University Folk Art Museum


  • 2005

    Weavers of Wonder, Naples Museum, FL

  • 2006

    Power & Delicacy: Master Works of Japanese Bamboo Art, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art, Grinnell College, IA and Chicago Cultural Center, IL
    Exhibited at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

  • 2007

    Masters of Bamboo, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, CA
    Solo Exhibition, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2008

    New Bamboo:Contemporary Japanese Masters, Japan Society, New York, NY

  • 2009

    Intertwined:Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection, the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe
    Many Shapes of Bamboo III, Oita Prefectural Art Museum, Oita

  • 2010

    Intertwined:Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection, Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY

  • 2011

    Commissioned Artist for Exhibition, Basketry, Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts, Norwich

  • 2012

    Artist in Residence at Bambouseraie de Prafrance, Générargues

  • 2013

    John Muir International Artist Residency, Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland

  • 2014

    Installation at First Learning Center, Cheekwood Botanical Garden, Nashville, TN

  • 2015

    Installation at Metropolitan Museum, Manila

  • 2016

    Bamboo Tradition in Contemporary Form, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

  • 2017

    Commissioned work for private office, Chicago, IL

  • 2020

    Winter Shadows, TAI Modern, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2021

    Ten Thousand Flowers, TAI Modern, Santa Fe, NM

Museum Collections
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA


If you turn the bamboo culm inside out, you can live inside the bamboo.

My house sits in a bamboo grove. On a hot dry summer afternoon, I can hear the subtle sound of explosions from the southern edge of the grove. It is the heated and inflated air inside the bamboo breaking the surface of the culm. In our bamboo grove the average eye-level diameter of bamboo is about 2.5 inches and the average nodal distance about 12 inches making the volume of the void between nodes of bamboo approximately 35 cubic inches. When I listen to this explosive sound I always think about the void inside the culm and wonder what the weather is like in this small void. Is it the same as ours; is it rainy or cloudy? People who live around the bamboo grove hear the sound of explosion and they sense a transparent light radiating from inside the bamboo. This is the beginning of the legend about the Bamboo Princess.

One day an old man was walking through a bamboo forest and saw a light shining from a bamboo culm. He cut it open and found a baby girl inside. He and his wife never had any children so they decided to name her Kayuyahime and raise her themselves. After that, whenever the old man went into the bamboo forest to cut bamboo, he found money in the bamboo culm.

Kayuyahime grew up to be a beautiful lady and had many suitors, but she was sad and showed no interest. Instead she looked up at the sky and said to her father, “I was born on the moon and angels will come to guide me back on the 15th of November.” Her father said angrily, “that is nonsense.”

When the 15th came, her father hoped she would not return to the moon, but as the moon appeared over the mountain, a gold light flashed and an angel appeared. Kayuyahime could not help following the light and slowly flew up into the sky hand in hand with the angel.

The old man and his wife could do nothing but watch her leave.

  • Ten Thousand Flowers