Secret Witches Exhibition Report

For the next month, Fukuoka City Museum is playing host to the travelling “Secret Witches Exhibition,” which is continuing its tour of Japan.

This exciting and extremely well-presented exhibition is based on the “Witches – Myth and Reality” exhibition organised by Historisches Museum der Pfalz Speyer in 2009 and which was a huge success in Germany.

witches ft img

For the first time in Japan, you can read about the “fact and fiction” surrounding witches in this interactive and engaging exploration of these supposedly magical women.
From the early days of European witches and the subsequent witch hunts, to the more charming portrayal of the modern witch, this exhibition has it covered.

The foyer of the museum offers a taste of what’s in store, as a night-time backdrop, witches’ robes and hats as well as a floor-mounted broom provide a great photo opportunity for visitors!

photobooth

On approach to the exhibition itself, which is on display until 29th May, the dim lighting and staff (all of whom don witches hats) set the tone of this mysterious, eerie exhibition.
Entering through large, mock-wooden castle-like gates, you catch your first glimpse of the plethora of artefacts which are on loan from Germany, Austria, France and Lichtenstein. The interior of the exhibition has you thinking you’ve entered some sort of old castle, with cobweb-covered bookshelves in every corner.

The exhibition is divided into four “chapters” at the beginning of each of which is an English description of what is to follow. Chapter One begins with the origins of witches and their links to the devil, and features the beautiful ‘Celestial Globe’ amongst its artefacts.

Chapter Two – “Delusion” – informs visitors of the changing perception of witches in the 16th to 18th centuries, during which time they came to be a source of hatred. Be sure not to miss the double-headed calf and cat which are found in this second part!

『魔女に与える鉄槌』:©Minstelbach,RÖm.kath.Pfarramt Mistelbach. Foto:Markus Guschlbauer

『魔女に与える鉄槌』:©Minstelbach,RÖm.kath.Pfarramt Mistelbach. Foto:Markus Guschlbauer

From there, you emerge into an even darker section of the exhibition, where cobwebbed-candles hang from the ceiling. This part, entitled “Trials”, showcases the range of equipment used to torture supposed witches into making a confession. Although the English descriptions are much briefer than the Japanese ones, these instruments – a burning stake, Choke Pear and Spanish Boot to name but a few – really do speak for themselves!

刺のある椅子:©The Mainichi Newspapers

刺のある椅子:©The Mainichi Newspapers

The final section of the exhibition is “Fantasy.” This gives an insight into the modern day portrayal of witches, often as young women who use their magic to do good. Manga fans especially will love the artwork on display here.

Before exiting, don’t miss the chance to have your photo taken in a replica of the tortuous ‘Spiky Chair’!

• 4/8 (Fri.) ~ 5/29 (Sun.) (Closed: Mon.)
• 9:30~17:30 (last entry: ~17:00)
• Adults: adv. ¥1,100, door ¥1,300; HS and Uni.: adv. ¥700, door ¥900; ES and MS: adv. ¥400, door ¥600
• Fukuoka City Museum
• 3-1-1 Momochihama, Sawara-ku
• 092-845-5011
http://majo-himitsu.com/top.html

Text by Hannah Smith, for Fukuoka Now

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