知識が広がる!家具の博物館の魅力とは?

家具は工芸品です。製作した人の工夫や思いが詰まった芸術品でありながら、生活の中で日々使用する実用品でもあります。

そんな家具をまとめてじっくり見ることのできる博物館が東京都の昭島市にあります。

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国内唯一の家具専門博物館

様々な工芸品の博物館は全国にありますが、家具を専門的に取り扱っている博物館はこの「家具の博物館」しかありません。

家具の博物館はJR青梅線の中神駅北口から徒歩5分のフランスベッド東京工場の中にあります。

フランスベッドは元々車両用シートを製作する会社として出発しましたがやがてベッドメーカーとして大成長します。

家具の博物館はそのフランスベッドの創業者池田実氏によって1972年に都内中央区晴海に設立されました。

1979年に現在の名称になる前までは、「家具保存協会・家具の歴史館」という名称でした。

現在の場所に移転したのは、2004年です。

前名称の家具保存協会・家具の歴史館が良く表しているように家具が資料として収集され整理されています。

設立時点の収蔵資料数は椅子や箪笥を中心に約900点で、現在はその2倍の約1800点あまりとなっています。

このうち200点程度が常設展示されています。

約80坪の展示場に和洋のアンティーク家具が展示されている様子は相当圧巻だろうと想像してしまいやすいですが、使い込まれた木製の家具が醸し出すのはむしろ親しみのある、落ち着いた温もりです。

日本の住宅事情を考えると、実用には適さない家具かもしれませんし、現代の家屋のインテリアを考える上で直接的に参考になるかどうかは微妙です。

しかし、人々が何世代にもわたって使用し、慈しんできた木製家具をじっくりと見てみることには大きな意味があるはずです。

「家具の伝統-継承-創造」をテーマとした博物館

家具の博物館設立の契機は欧米にあります。

設立者の池田実氏が欧米視察に行った際、どんな町にも古い家具を展示する郷土資料館があることに気づき、それがこの博物館を設立する構想の原点になりました。

郷土資料館に古い家具があることには意味があります。

家具は生活の中で人と共に年月を過ごすものです。

郷土がただの土地というだけでなく、その土地とそこで暮らす人々との結びつきの歴史であるとしたら、アンティーク家具や家屋は動かない土地と動き活動する人々の仲介役であったと言うことができます。

また、この仲介役は何世代にもわたって人々の生活を見守り続けてきた友人でもあるのです。

郷土が何がしかのアイデンティティを持つとしたら、そこにある家屋や家具は必ずやその一部であるということになります。

アンティークの家具が地域のアイデンティティの一部であり、そこで暮らしてきた人々の何かを宿しているとしたら、家具を収集し展示する博物館の意義は自明のものになります。

池田実氏の熱意はそこにフォーカスしていました。

急激な社会経済の変化により住環境も激変を余儀なくされた1970年代の日本で、何もしなければ簡単に散逸してしまう家具を収集し、保存し、後世に伝えていくことがこの博物館の使命だと池田実氏は考えました。

この博物館の設立時に掲げられたコンセプトは、「家具の伝統-継承-創造」です。

今も博物館活動を続けております。

都内からアクセスしやすい立地を活かして、首都圏の、そして、日本全体の住環境の伝統を継承し未来に向けて創造していくことが家具の博物館の目的となっています。

家具の博物館の体験コーナーと出版物

家具の博物館の活動はそのテーマに沿ったものです。

館内に設けられた体験コーナーには、木材サンプルの感触、色、重量感、テキスチャー、香りをじっくり確認できる「この木何の木?」、組接ぎを実体験できる「組み合わせてみよう」、そして、相引や尻敷と呼ばれる携帯用組立式の腰掛の部品の組み合わせ作業の「組み立ててみよう」があります。

これら3つはいずれも、日本の家具の特徴を捉えた体験コーナーです。

日本の家具は使用する木材の多彩さに特徴があります。

大部分が温暖湿潤気候に属する日本の植生は森林が大きな部分を占めます。

南北に長い日本列島の形もあいまって、様々な種類の木材が家具に使用されます。

家具の材料となる木材のサンプルを手にとって眺めることで、現在アンティークとなっている家具の原点が日本の風土にあったことを再確認するのは日本の家具の伝統の継承の第一歩です。

体験コーナーでも取り上げられている組接ぎは、日本の伝統建築や家具製作の特徴的な技法です。

基本的には釘や接着剤を用いずに、縁をジグソーパズルのように切り欠いた二枚の板を組み合わせ接ぐことで、強固な構造を作り、板の反りなどを抑制するというものです。

板の縁を切り欠く段階で、精密な切削作業が必要とされ、何世代にもわたる職人さんたちの集合知が形になって現れる、まさに伝統的な技法です。

これに触れることには大きな意味があります。

組立式の腰掛の体験コーナーもこの延長です。

出版活動も盛んに行われています。

アンティーク家具をカタログ的に取り上げるのではなく、人々の暮らしを前提とした上で、様々な主題を立て、それに従って開催した特別展の解説書や図録です。

通信販売で入手できるものもありますが、来館した方のみが購入できるものもあります。

最後に

家具の博物館は都内や首都圏近郊から訪問しやすい、興味深い博物館です。

家具の博物館

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