Hello. We welcome you to the National Museum of Oriental Art.

This is a territory of ideas, sensations and emotions.

Here the oriental cultures uncover their diversity and their contradictions.

They intertwine and coexist with the gaze of those who visit the Museum

and the memory of the communities.


By building stories with the pieces of our collection

we go through concepts, thoughts and perceptions

that sometimes are far from our habits and convictions.


We propose experiences of knowledge and enjoyment

to reflect on your own experiences.

To make meaningful connections between the past and the present,

the global and the local, the individual and the collective.


The activities and projects of the Museum invite you to inhabit it at your own pace.

To dialogue, learn and unlearn, so that you can generate sensitive and critical knowledge

on current relevant issues.

To create and share knowledge.


What do we think of when we refer to the East?

What ideas did the West create about the traditions, thought and lifestyle of Eastern cultures?

The Oriente Todo (East all) exhibition presents various pieces from the National Museum of Oriental Art (MNAO) as a possible way of encountering the creations that take place in the enormous territory comprising the notion of the East.

The route is organized in cores that put in dialogue

common images built about the East with objects from the collection.

It is often thought that the East is thoughtful, spiritual, sensual

and that It maintains a great connection with nature:

These are the starting points of a crystallized idea about the other half of the world.

But is it really like that or are they just imagined conceptions?

We invite you to put these ideas to the test, recognize them and find yourself

each time in a different way with the East.


Fo Dogs, China, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Stoneware, enamel.

Inv. 2233/2/1

Inv. 2233/2/2


Fo dogs, also known as Fu lions, are mythical animals from Chinese tradition.

Its origin is linked to a tradition of the Buddhist religion in which lions fulfilled the role of guardians and defenders of the law or dharma.

They are always depicted in pairs: the male holds a globe in his claws and the female covers the young with one of her front paws.

They are generally located on the thresholds of temples, palaces and tombs,

to drive away evil spirits and provide protection against demons.

1.The Orient that we build

In the Western imagination, the Orient is built from patches.

The very concept of the Orient would seem to be defined by opposition:

it is everything that is not the West.

It is a broad concept 

that includes diverse geographies, nations, cultures, practices and social groups.

Attempts to define that distant, different, unknown other are not innocent.

They have a political dimension

in which the centrality of Europe historically imposed its dominant vision

and has built a story

which was internalized over time by the rest of the West.

Literature, visual arts, cinema and other cultural products

have reproduced those approaches about the Orient.

It is known as orientalism

the theory that assumes “essential” differences between East and West

and that leads to prejudiced and stereotyped representations

that, at the same time that they describe what is understood as the oriental,

they reduce it.

We can stay with an imagined conception

or look for different ways to approach the different cultures of the East.


The cinema has collaborated in delineating the Western imaginary about the East.

First it was the Lumière brothers with their visual descriptions of exotic landscapes. Later, Hollywood cinema helped to give a more precise shape to some stereotypes:

on the one hand, magic, mystery, sensuality,

and, on the other, martial arts, ruthless violence, cruelty.

Thus, moving images contributed to building a representation of the East, its cultures and its peoples tailored to the West and its expectations.


The origin of the samurai warriors occurs in ancient Japan, in the 10th century.

This social group developed a dense culture around the war.

With the passage of time, the samurai established themselves as an elite

with important privileges, such as carrying two swords, bearing surnames

indicating their lineage and wearing sophisticated attire.

Their armor, in addition to having a defensive purpose and indicating military rank, socially legitimxhibited here shows luxurious materials, such as silk and bronze, worked with the techniques of carving, chiseling, engraving and lacquering.

Samurai armor consists mainly of a helmet (kabuto), a cuirass (dō), a mask (mengu), and protective plates for the shoulders (sode), belly (kesan), neck (nodawa), arms ( kote) and thighs (haidate, worn tied around the waist).

The mask or armor for the face can include a variety of facial details, such as mustaches, noses, and teeth. On the hands, the samurai wore gloves (yugake). The legs were covered with splint shin guards (suneate) and the feet were protected by cloth stockings with split toes (tabi) and jointed-bladed shoes (kōgake).

SABER ORized those who wore it.

The Meiji Restoration was a political and economic process that took place in Japan between 1868 and 1912.

and implied the opening to trade with the West and the complete renewal of the social structure.

It also meant the end of samurai privileges.At the same time that they lost their active role in Japan, their image became attractive to the Western gaze.

The presence of samurai armor in all the museums of oriental art in the West is proof of that.

Museums also contributed to the formation

of stereotypes and hegemonic narratives.


The piece e KATANA

The weapon accompanied the samurai on all occasions, even in times of peace.

The saber or katana was the most characteristic weapon of this warrior social group,

although he also used spears and bows.

Their manufacture was an art in itself.

and each element that integrated it implied an exquisite craftsmanship.

To prevent hand contact with the cutting blade

the tsuba was used between the handle and the edge:

a circular piece that could present various decorative motifs.

The menukis were placed on the sides of the handle,

metal applications with ornaments,

that provided greater firmness when wielding the saber.

  1. The journey of the objects

We rarely know how museum pieces got there.

We can try to recreate the traces of their itineraries

from the labels, boxes and stamps they display.

The objects before our eyes have made long journeys.

Several arrived at the port of Buenos Aires after extensive commercial voyages by ship:

they departed mainly from Shanghai, Yokohama and the Coromandel coast,

from China, Japan or India.

Others arrived with the collectors who acquired them

during trips to the East or on tours of Europe,

where pieces of varied origin could be found: from the Persian Empire or Egypt,

from Tibet and Southeast Asia.

Coming from distant ports to the Buenos Aires’ antique dealers

or passing through different hands to anchor in our territory,

the objects present here have traversed other times and geographies,

and by observing them we go through them and travel with them.


The janggu is a traditional Korean drum that has been used since the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392).

It is made up of two drums of different sizes joined by a narrow neck at the bases, and for this reason it is also known as an "hourglass drum".

This instrument was played both in popular settings and at court.

Wood from the Paulownia tree was used for its preparation,

special for its lightness.

The sound of the janggu represents in Korea the pattering of rain.


Ningyō are traditional Japanese porcelain or wooden dolls.

who participate in an ancient practice of Japan

consisting of making handicrafts of human images.

Ningyō means "person shape".

There are different types of ningyō, depending on the figure represented.

The doll on display here is an ishō-ningyō or “dressed doll”

and it is a geisha with a delicate kimono.

These dolls functioned as souvenirs for the foreign public.

From the box and the label, we can infer that this comes from Odawara,

city ​​and commercial center of southern Japan, near Yokohama,

one of the main Japanese ports opened for trade with the West in 1859.


This piece of Chinese pottery is dated to the Three Kingdoms period, 220-265 BCE.

(The notation A.N.E. means in Spanish "before our era", B.C.E.stands for “before common era) and is often used in the dating of non-Western artistic productions

to avoid applying religious parameters.)

It belongs to the type of Hu vessels, which were used to preserve liquid.

Hence its bulky body, narrow neck, wide mouth and handles.

The type of enameling, known as celadon,

is native to China and spread throughout Asia.

Its coloration, which ranges from translucent green to grayish blue, is similar to that of jade.

In Chinese mythology, jade is believed to come from the dragon.

and for that reason it is considered a sacred stone, appreciated for its beauty and hardness.

On the handles of this vessel are two zoomorphic masks with large eyes: they represent the taotie or “greedy glutton”, an evil creature from Chinese mythology.



Japanese prints called ukiyo-e or "images of the floating world"

They are woodblock prints that reached their peak during the Edo period (1603-1868).

The motifs represented referred to life in Edo, the current city of Tokyo:

the urban settings and their entertainment, the commercial routes, the natural landscape and its views, and the different characters of the popular classes.

Its production was massive and was aimed at a wide audience.

They were sold at an affordable price, the equivalent of a bowl of soup or a pair of sandals. Those prints that had flaws or had been printing proofs were discarded.

or they were reused as wrappers for ceramic pieces destined for foreign trade.

The legacy of Torre Bertucci

José Antonio Torre Bertucci (1888-1970) was an Argentinian musician and educator,

as well as a collector passionate about the Orient.

He made up his vast collection of Egyptian amulets over 2,000 years old, Japanese prints, Chinese porcelain, Buddhist figurines, sabers and samurai armor.

Because of his academic training in music, around 1909 Torre Bertucci traveled to Europe,

where he broadened his interest in oriental art by making contact with art galleries and antique dealers specialized in that subject.

Torre Bertucci donated thousands of pieces from his personal collection to the national patrimony with the intention that they could be appreciated by future generations,

and today they represent a huge proportion of the MNAO's heritage:

objects from Japan, China, the Persian Empire, Egypt, India, Thailand, Tibet and Indonesia.



Collectors intervene in what they collect

either by altering the external appearance of the pieces,

giving them a new function or making them part of their daily practice.

These miniature paintings from India, dated between 1830 and 1832,

They are made on transparent paper.

Some of these fragile figurine-sized works were lovingly preserved by the collector's own hand.

Torre Bertucci cut them out and placed them on a new support:

the staves that he himself used to compose his works for piano.

In this way, his devotion to the oriental found a unique crossover with his other passion, music.

In what daily practices do you find yourself with the East?

  1. Time in detail

Object: Chinese painting/ calligraphy

The mountain with rain or the mountain with clear weather are, for the painter, easy to depict. (...) But, when good weather tends to rain, or when rain tends to the return of good weather; at sunset, in the very midst of the mists (...), when the entire landscape is lost in confusion: emerging-submerging, between what is and what is not, that is precisely what is difficult to figure out.

Qian Wenshi

The time in the detail

On this side of the world they say

that Eastern cultures are noted for their patience.

Is the East meticulous and laborious? Is the East slow and reflective?

Different cultures conceive of the passage of time in different ways.

The details result from thinking of working time as a process

and not as a means to an end:

the focus is not on the result but on the development.

It is there where the appreciation of the meticulous arises.

The encounter with detail invites a careful appreciation of the objects in this section.

Stopping is not delaying.

The objects also propose a time to be discovered:

extending a roll of calligraphy, observing a landscape, turning the pages of a watercolor album... How much time do we take to admire the pieces shown here?

Actions, movements and things have their own time.

The transformations are gradual and silent.


The figures carved in ivory that belong to the collection are examples of what in Japan is called okimono, that is, “object to be exhibited”.

They were produced during the Meiji Era (1868-1912),

which was characterized by the opening to trade with the West.

The commercial exchange generated a great fascination in the foreign public for the most typical Japanese items.

At first, okimonos were exclusively decorative.

and they could be placed in a tokonoma (small raised enclosure) or a butsudan (Buddhist altar) in order to be admired.

Later on, they began to be made exclusively as export items, which is why they present role figures characteristic of Japanese society at the end of the 19th century:

geishas, ​​kabuki theater actresses, fishermen and street vendors, among others.


(Figure of a lady) The Japanese lady dressed in an elegant kimono holding an outstretched paper in her hands is designed by its creator to be observed from all sides, even from the base of support, which reveals the woman's bare feet.

(Figure of a basket seller)

The meticulous and delicate work in the preparation of the different types and sizes of baskets is remarkable, as well as in the wrinkles and expression marks of the man's face.


This ivory carving belongs to the group of Japanese objects called jizai okimono or "articulated figures", which are characterized by representing insects, crustaceans and reptiles in a naturalistic way.

It is believed that these types of pieces were produced by kachu-shi or gunsmiths, specialized in making armor for samurai.

When the power of these warriors came to an end, during the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912),

The kachu-shi found it necessary to apply their craft skills to the manufacture of luxury items for the growing western market.

So they made articulated pieces in bronze, bone and ivory, like this sea lobster.


The Canton spheres began to be made at the beginning of the 14th century in the port city of the same name,

which was a production center specializing in ivory.

It is a set of spheres that are one inside the other and rotate independently.

These objects were made from a single piece of ivory placed on a lathe.

The realization process required making holes with a tool that was cutting the volume of each sphere from the inside to the outside. Once loose within the larger sphere, the other spheres were carved one by one.

In the West, because of the difficulty involved in making them, they are known as "spheres of patience".


The history of snuff bottles or snuff powder begins in America.

Tobacco was one of the species that Europeans knew from the voyage of Christopher Columbus,

and its consumption spread rapidly throughout the world through maritime routes.

In the mid-17th century in Japan, the custom of inhaling snuff mixed with aromatic spices through the nose was a fashionable practice among the elites.

and medicinal benefits were attributed to it.

In fact, snuff bottles probably derived from traditional Japanese medicine containers.

At the end of the 17th century, the use of snuff and the manufacture of these small bottles, which became highly prized objects, spread to China.


This type of Chinese craft is called dian cui, which means "bath of light."

The characteristic turquoise color of these accessories is given by the feathers of a bird found in Asia and Argentina, known here as "kingfisher".

The technique consists of meticulously trimming the feathers to patiently adhere them to small surfaces of gold or other metal, which are then embedded in jewelry or ornaments for hair or clothing.

The dian cui were considered luxurious objects and for this reason they were used by the empress and the ladies of the court.

At the beginning of the 20th century, with the end of imperial times, this type of craft became popular and accessible to more people.

At present, to carry out this meticulous craft work, alternative materials that imitate blue plumage are used, with the purpose of preserving the birds.


Miniature sculptures are known as netsukes

whose function was to balance the inros,

that is to say, the small Japanese boxes that were hung from the obi (belt) of the kimonos.

These counterweights, invented in Japan in the 17th century,

they were decorative carvings made mainly of ivory and wood.

As the kimono was replaced by other types of clothing,

the netsuke stopped being seen as a utilitarian object

and began to be appreciated for its refined craftsmanship.

For this aesthetic dimension,

netsukes became highly valued among foreign collectors drawn to Japan.


Inros were small containers that were hung from the kimono belt during the Edo period (1603-1868).

Its use arises from the fact that traditional Japanese clothing did not have pockets.

The inros kept inside contents as small as they were valuable:

they carried identity stamps for signing agreements and promissory notes and they also hid little papers with still uncorrected poetry, secret addresses, intimate names and stories that no one should ever know or tell.



As a result of the multiple commercial contacts between the West and the East, a double game linked to the production of fashion objects arose:

On the one hand, oriental pieces started to  be imitated in Europe and, on the other hand, oriental artisans began to produce pieces adapted to foreign tastes.

This is the case of Satsuma ceramics, originated in the Japanese province of the same name around the 16th century. With the opening of Japan to the West, the production of satsumas became massive to meet the high external demand.

By 1868, these objects became export items tailored to Western desire, replete with typical Japanese elements: pagodas, cherry blossoms, landscapes, and courtly scenes.

Among the objects in your house, are there any that come from the East?

  1. The spiritual in everyday life

In the vast territory that comprises the notion of the Orient

diverse creeds and spiritual practices coexist.

They have some points in common.

One of them is the way in which spirituality filters through and participates in daily life through different actions that are carried out individually or in groups.

The practice of prayer or meditation can occur both at home and in the temple,

either in silence or with music and songs.

In order to pray or meditate it is possible to use objects as support or adopt certain postures with the body.

The cult of the ancestors is present in the day to day

in home altars where respect is paid to deceased family members.

Another point in common is the use of the lunar or lunisolar calendar,

that indicates the times of agricultural activity

while establishing the moments of rites and festivities

that ensure the reunion of the groups and the renewal of the collective faith.


This type of Chinese altar is linked to the cult of the ancestors

since its function is to contain funerary tablets, known as "spirit tablets",

on which the names of deceased ancestors are written.

This small piece of furniture is generally located in the living room of the family home.

The rite of lighting incense and offering a prayer on the relative's anniversary is organized around it.

With this practice, the tradition of venerating the ancestors

It is still transmitted today from the older generations to the younger ones.


This type of altar can be found in houses or temples.

It works as a small chapel in the shape of a closet, in which different elements linked to the Buddhist creed are deposited.

The butsudan (“Buddha house” in Japanese)

It bears this name because inside its compartments and shelves there is usually a statue of Buddha

accompanied by incense, calligraphy and offerings such as flowers and fruits, among other elements.

The doors of the butsudan are opened at the time of meditation or paying homage to the ancestors

to observe the figure placed there and direct the practice towards it.


These objects, called malas, serve as support for certain spiritual practices.

The mala is a meditation necklace that is used in both Hinduism and Buddhism and has some similarities with the rosary of the Catholic creed.

It is made up of beads that are played as progress is made in the singing or recitation of affirmations or mantras: phrases, syllables or sacred words that are repeated.

The repetition has the purpose of connecting with the inner meditative practice from the sounds and their vibrations.

The term mantra comes from Sanskrit and can be translated as "liberation of the mind".


Some musical instruments are played during meditation as vibration tools that help reach higher states and promote a greater connection with prayer.

Cymbals or tingsha are percussion instruments that are often used as sound accompaniment in Tibetan Buddhism ceremonies.

Their cymbals can carry mantras engraved on the surface to reinforce the sacred intention of the prayer.



This festival takes place in Thailand on the full moon day of the last month of the lunar calendar, that is, at the end of the year.

For the occasion, small rafts are made in which flowers, lamps and incense are placed and made to navigate the river.

Loi means “to float”, while the word krathong refers to the raft made from the trunk of the banana tree.

Throwing these boats into the water symbolizes resignation and overcoming grudges and bad moods to start a new life cycle.


In Shintoism, the indigenous religion of Japan based on animism and the veneration of multiple divinities or kami, the traditional festivities known as matsuri take place. Many Japanese towns have their own matsuri,

in which the rice harvest, the arrival of snow or fertility are celebrated.

In these festivities, processions take place in which the figures of deities are carried on palanquins or pavilions, such as the mikoshi exhibited here.


The Janmashtami festival takes place in India and celebrates the birth of Krishna.

In Hinduism, Krishna is the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu and is associated with joy and love.

On the occasion of the festival, the temples are illuminated and, among other rites, clay containers are hung above the streets.

Then human pyramids are formed to reach those vessels and destroy them representing the first antics of the child Krishna.


The Holi festival is a festival of the Hindu faith that is also known as the Spring Festival.

In order to celebrate the end of the winter season, the populations congregate to throw colored powders and water into the air

emulating the flowers to come and welcoming a period of joy.

This meeting, where dance, music and fun come together, symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.


In the Buddhist religion there are multiple collective celebrations.

One of the most important is Losar or the Tibetan New Year,

as part of the Lamaist Buddhist calendar.

It is a religious as well as secular festivity that includes a series of rites and activities for fifteen days.

For example, on the last day of the old year, the house must be completely cleaned, and on the first day of the new year, families are dressed in new clothes.

The community then gathers to perform songs and dances and pass around lit torches in order to get rid of evil spirits.



The same object can be read in different ways.

The prayer rug is used by Muslims for the salat or daily prayer ritual:

it is an element that encloses in itself a spiritual practice,

while, to the western gaze,

It is a deconsecrated piece that is appreciated for its craftsmanship.

In this rug we observe geometric elements and the motif of the Mihrab, 

an architectural niche which should be oriented to Mecca.

What gesture, action or celebration that is related to a spiritual dimension do you carry out on a daily routine?

  1. Sensual East

From the Western perspective, the East has been imagined

like a territory surrounded by a halo of seduction.

Throughout the 19th century an erotic imaginary was built,

especially in romantic literature and painting,

that incorporated as recurring topics

the odalisque, the silk, the incense and the perfumed spices,

as well as the sensuality of the fan, the kimono or the turban, among others.

From accounts of travelers who ventured to the Orient,

to represent those distant cultures

the West was assembling landscapes, aromas, fashions and habits

where hedonism and pleasures are exalted.

You can think of an oriental sensuality mode

built from the game of what is revealed and what is hidden,

what certain textures arouse in touch

or how the aromas of the environment stimulate the sense of smell,

and not so much from physical parameters or expressions of the body.


Silk manufacturing originated in ancient China, approximately 6,000 years ago. The cultivation of silkworms that produce the cocoons from which the fibers are extracted to produce the yarn is known as “sericulture”.

Originally, it was an artisanal work carried out mainly by women.

Once the silk textiles were made, the same workers were in charge of making clothing and accessories such as shoes, fans and headdresses,

as well as to embroider them delicately.

These pieces could accompany them throughout their lives, be given as a gift at a wedding or be kept as prized treasures for the youngest members of the family.


Foot binding, also known as "lotus feet", was a common practice for women belonging to the wealthy classes of China from the Song dynasty, during the 10th century.

This custom was interpreted as a sign of social distinction

since women with lotus feet were prevented from working

and as an aesthetic act of sensuality for the male gaze.

At the beginning of the 20th century the practice went into decline.

after repeated campaigns that pointed it out as an archaic and harmful tradition.


The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment with a T shape and wide sleeves worn by both men and women.

Traditionally it is worn with the obi (wide sash), and tabi (stockings) and zori (cloth sandals) or geta (wooden sandals) are worn on the feet.

It used to be made of rustic cloth,

but with the diffusion of silk textiles of that fiber began to be used,

which limited its manufacture to artisans specialized in dyeing, printing and even painting on the fabric,

and kimonos became very sophisticated pieces.

The different types of kimono indicate the social belonging of the wearer,

marital status and even the degree of formality of the occasion in which you participate.


At first the fans arose to cool off on days of high temperatures. Over time they became clothing accessories and accessories rich in designs and decorations.

that served as a support for artistic expressions, such as painting, calligraphy and poetry.

The collection contains a group of Chinese fans known as "mandarin fans" or "fans with a thousand faces."

The first denomination is linked to its origin, since towards the middle of the 19th century the term “mandarin” was installed to indicate that which came from China.

The name "fans with a thousand faces" refers to the large number of figures that unfold on both sides of the fan, forming group scenes located in landscapes or palace interiors.


The word sari means "strip of cloth" in Sanskrit.

and it calls the feminine, traditional and millennial garment, originally from India, which women tie at their waists as a skirt.

The way to place it is complex since it requires skill to adapt an elongated rectangle of cloth to the shape of the human body.

However, the sari has spread over time and is still worn today in both India and other South Asian countries.

It is usually worn together with a blouse or choli.

Refined embroidery work, sometimes with silver and gold threads, indicates the social status of the sari wearer.


First in China, around 1600 and 1300 BC, and then in Japan and Korea, bronze mirrors were produced, with one polished side and the other with relief decorations of elements linked to virtues or good fortune.

Cranes, for example, symbolized fidelity and conjugal happiness; turtles, longevity, and pine, plum or bamboo trees indicated strength and temperance in the face of adversity.

Mirrors could be passed down from one generation to the next and even placed in graves to keep company with their owners and ward off evil spirits.

The round shape used in some mirrors can be linked to the Chinese notion of a celestial dome. For Zen Buddhism, the circle symbolizes the infinite contained in the perfection of harmony.


These carvings come from India.

They are architectural fragments of temples or sacred spaces.

One of them, in plaster, contains two intertwined anthropomorphic figures that represent celestial spirits from Hindu mythology.

On the left, Gandharva, male deity, guardian of music and the arts.

On the right, Apsará, a female deity who is usually represented dancing and who seduces mortals, kings and wise men.

The second relief, in reddish stone, also presents a couple:

Shiva, one of the gods of the Hindu trinity,

capable of both creation and universal destruction,

and his wife, Parvati, goddess of abundance and fertility.

When they are together they symbolize deep love.



Throughout time, mirrors have been used primarily to look at oneself.

In Antiquity, both in Mesopotamia and in China and in ancient Egypt,

they were kept as grooming utensils.

They were made from burnished metal, such as bronze or copper.

The polished surface allowed reflected light to reflect back the image itself.

In the history of Western art, the representation of a figure in front of a mirror looking at herself is often interpreted as a vain gesture or as a metaphor for the fleeting nature of beauty.

However, the mirror has also been associated with a magical dimension, as a means of communication with the afterlife or to see what cannot be seen with the naked eye.

At this meeting point we suggest you stop in front of the mirror and observe.

What image does the mirror return to you?

What sensations, movements, aromas or fragrances arise to you?

  1. The multiple dimensions of nature

It is usual to think

that the East is in greater connection with nature than the West.

Where does that statement come from?

Many of the oriental cultures organize their calendar of rites and festivities

based on agricultural activity.

Even in the present, the phases of the moon and the beginning of autumn or spring

indicate times of celebrations and ceremonies

linked to the auspicious moments of cultivation, harvest or flowering.

When seeking harmony between the human being and his environment

we can find a conception of respect and veneration for the natural.

The importance given to the vital and organic

translates into the constant presence of botanical and animal elements

in artistic productions.

This is the case of many of the Museum's objects:

pieces that adopt natural forms

and compositions that show all kinds of trees, flowers, fruits and animals

or landscapes of fog, mountains, rivers and rocks.


Location: next to Showcase 17

Objects: Haikus of the four seasons

Source: Silva, A. (comp. and trad.) (2021). The haiku book. Buenos Aires: Under the Moon.


Daffodil leaves

inclined, barely,

under the first snow



Summer gale

My papers get scared

(they fly away)



The light begins

in spring

on the wings of the bird

that flies.



What voice do you have, spider?

and what is your song

in the autumn breeze?




The poetry of Juan L. Ortiz (Puerto Ruiz, 1896-Paraná, 1978) from Entre Ríos province refers to coastal scenes and elements of nature such as the river, the willow, the wind and changes in the weather.His poems convey a contemplative attitude towards nature and promote a connection between our interior and what surrounds us.

In this case, Ortiz transports us through references, images and climates to the entrails of a landscape. The presence of water, vegetation and mist generates a mysterious atmosphere that evokes the animation of nature. In this meditative approach there is a certain affinity with the way of representing natural landscapes in oriental painting.

Encounters with the East are also possible in a symbolic dimension.

Distant geographies can be found from the sensible.


What kind of experience with nature transports you to the East?

I went to the river (1937)  

I went to the river, and I felt it

close to me, in front of me.

The branches had voices

that did not reach me.

The current said

things I didn't understand.

It almost anguished me.

I wanted to understand it

feel what the vague and pale sky was saying in it

with its first syllables elongated,

but I can't.

I was coming back

–Was I the one who returned?–

in vague anguish

of feeling alone among the last and secret things.

Suddenly I felt the river in me,

ran into me

with its trembling shores of signs,

with its deep reflections barely starry.

The river ran into me with its branches.

I was a river in the evening

and the trees sighed in me,

and the path and the herbs were extinguished in me.

A river was running through me, a river was running through me!

The East today

-What do you think when we say the East? 

I think in…

-Where do you meet with the East nowadays?

I find myself with the East in…


  • Lunes | Cerrado
  • Martes | Cerrado
  • Miércoles | Abierto de 14:00 a 20:00
  • Jueves | Abierto de 14:00 a 20:00
  • Viernes | Abierto de 14:00 a 20:00
  • Sábado | Abierto de 14:00 a 20:00
  • Domingo | Abierto de 14:00 a 20:00


Museo Nacional de Arte Oriental

Viamonte 525 2° piso Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires