The Mingei International Museum
is a non-profit
public institution that collects, conserves and exhibits folk art,
craft and design. The word mingei
'art of the people,' was coined by the Japanese scholar Dr. Sōetsu
Yanagi by combining the Japanese words for all people (min) and art
Mingei International Museum was founded by Martha
, Professor of Art Emerita, San Diego State
University. As an artist craftsman who studied pottery-making in
Japan, she became acquainted with and learned from the founders and
leaders of the Mingei Association of Japan. Under her guidance, the
Museum was established and developed over more than 27 years.
In May 1978, Mingei International Museum of World Folk Art opened
at University Towne Centre in San Diego with the exhibition,
Dolls and Folk Toys of the World
1996, Mingei International was relocated to the historic House of Charm on the Plaza de Panama in
Balboa Park. It shares the central square with the
San Diego Museum
of Art and the Timken Museum of Art.
Mingei International opened a second museum in downtown Escondido, in North San Diego County.
exhibition, Niki de Saint Phalle Remembered
work from the Museum’s
permanent collection and loans from the Niki Charitable Art
In its 30-year history, Mingei International has presented 140
exhibitions, accompanied by related lectures, films,
demonstrations, workshops, music, theater and dance.
The Museum's collections comprise 17,500 objects from 141
countries. The collections contain artifacts from the 3rd century
BCE to the present day and include objects as diverse as ancient
clay vessels and 21st-century Venetian glass. 
Several regions of the world are represented.
- Mexico: pottery, wood carvings, textiles, retablos, masks
- India: bronzes, wood carvings, pottery, textiles
- China: costumes, jewelry, wood carvings, pottery
- Japan: pottery, textiles, wood carvings, lacquer ware, metal
- Indonesia: ancestral monuments, wood carvings, textiles, masks,
- Africa: pottery, head rests, stools, masks, textiles
- Pre-Columbian: pottery and textiles from Central and South
- Middle East: textiles, jewelry, wood carvings
- U.S.A.: mid 20th-century pottery; contemporary furniture,
textiles, glass; Navajo weavings
Sonabai — Another Way of Seeing
Self-taught artist Sonabai Rajawar lived in enforced isolation for
15 years in a remote village in central India, creating her own
joyous sculptural environment. Guest Curator Stephen Huyler has
chosen for the exhibition 33 sculptures by Sonabai and her family
as well as 38 works by four artists trained by Sonabai.
Through Sep 5, 2010 
Masters of Mid-Century Modernism — Evelyn and Jerome
The first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of their work. The
exhibition offers an overview of the Ackermans' 50-year
collaborative partnership, focusing on their work in decorative art
and design and highlighting their role as designer-craftsmen who
helped shape the California Mid-Century Modern style.
Through Jan 10, 2010 
Rite and Ritual – Ceremonial Art across
Focuses on the beauty and meaning of objects used for familial,
tribal and community events in traditional cultures: birth,
childhood, initiation, marriage, death and festivals and in various
religious expressions among the world’s peoples: Shamanism, Shinto,
Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism.
Through Oct 16, 2010