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MYSTICAL ASIA at the Tokyo National Museum

MYSTICAL ASIA at the Tokyo National Museum

MYSTICAL ASIA at the Tokyo National Museum

Come and see mysterious objects from across Asia that were attributed with magical powers such as bringing good fortune and warding off evil spirits.

Three Thematic Exhibitions Based on the Theme of Magic
There are many other "magical" objects to see!
Most events will be held between September 5-18!

MYSTICAL ASIA at the Tokyo National MuseumCome and see mysterious objects from across Asia that were attributed with magical powers such as bringing good fortune and warding off evil spirits.

Three Thematic Exhibitions Based on the Theme of Magic
There are many other "magical" objects to see!
Most events will be held between September 5-18!

 

Three Thematic Exhibitions Based on the Theme of Magic

Thematic Exhibition: Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism and Its Sculpture
[Toyokan Room 12  September 5, 2017 (Tue) – October 15, 2017 (Sun)]

The pantheon of Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism includes fearsome deities with terrifying facial expressions, multiple arms and heads, and even skulls and weapons. This exhibition introduces these deities, created in response to the demand for even more powerful objects of worship, together with the beliefs of Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism.

Standing Vajrabhairava with Consort
Where Buddhist
GodsCome From

Standing Vajrabhairava with Consort
China, Qing dynasty, 17th–18th century (Gift of Ms. Azuma Fusako)

Buddhist sculptures showing a male and a female in an embrace are referred to as "father-mother." This form is thought to give birth to other deities.

 

Thematic Exhibition: Prayer in Asia
[Toyokan Room 13  September 5, 2017 (Tue) – October 15, 2017 (Sun)]

Asian art includes auspicious designs thought to prevent calamity and bring good health and riches, as well as objects reflective of folk beliefs and other superstitions. This exhibition will include objects rarely shown at the Museum.

 

Doll for Casting Curses
Discovered at Ueno Park, Tokyo, Meiji era, dated 1877

This staw doll was found nailed to a ginko tree in the park just outside. What resentful feelings could have been behind this?
 
Mask
19th-20th century (Gift of Dr. Neil Gordon Munro)

This human skull was decorated to look like the chieftan it once belonged to. Thought to house his soul even after death, it was carefully preserved by the tribe.
Doll for Casting Curses
The Curse!
Doll for Casting Curses
Discovered at Ueno Park, Tokyo, Meiji era, dated 1877

This staw doll was found nailed to a ginko tree in the park just outside. What resentful feelings could have been behind this?
 
Mask
The Soul in the Skull
Mask
19th-20th century (Gift of Dr. Neil Gordon Munro)

This human skull was decorated to look like the chieftan it once belonged to. Thought to house his soul even after death, it was carefully preserved by the tribe.

 

Coin Sword
When It Won't Stay Dead

Coin Sword
China, Qing dynasty, 19th century (Gift of the Hokkaido Administration Office)

The "coin sword," made by stringing together copper coins with red cord, is used for slaying jiangshi, the evil "hopping vampires" of Chinese legend.

 

Thematic Exhibition: Tang Sancai: Three-color Glazed Wares of the Tang Dynasty
[Toyokan Room 5  September 5, 2017 (Tue) – February 4, 2018 (Sun)]

Pottery with three-color glazes that was made for the elaborate burials of the Tang dynasty (618-907) is now admired for its beautiful colors and forms. Sometimes hundreds of individual pieces, with vivid, multi-colored glazes and shapes based on human figures and animals, were buried in a single tomb.

Tomb Guardian, Three-color glaze
None Shall Pass!

Tomb Guardian, Three-color glaze
China, Tang dynasty, 7th-8th century (Gift of Dr. Yokogawa Tamisuke)

One creature has the face of a man, and the other, that of a beast. Together, they gaze forward, letting no intruder pass into the tomb.

 

 

There are many other "magical" objects to see!

Jivajiva (Legendary bird)
Two Faces, One Bird

Jivajiva (Legendary bird)
Yotkan, ChinaOtani collection, 5th century

The Jivajiva is a strange bird with two human faces. All depictions found thus far have both a male and a female face.
[Toyokan Room 3 "Art of the Western Regions"  August 22, 2017 (Tue) – October 15, 2017 (Sun)]
 
"Eye Idol"
Protection from the Evil Eye

"Eye Idol"
Excavated at Tell Brak, Syria, Late Chalcolithic period, ca. 3800-3600 BC (Gift of Dr. Furusawa Shizuko)

A mysterious statuette found at a Mesopotamia temple, it may have been made as protection against the curse of the evil eye.
[Toyokan Room 3 "Art of the Western Regions"  August 22, 2017 (Tue) – October 15, 2017 (Sun)]
 
Bronze Ornamental Fitting, With animals
Wishes for a Good Hunt

Bronze Ornamental Fitting, With animals
Attributed provenance: Gyeongju, Korea, Early Iron Age-Proto Three Kingdoms period, 3rd-1st century BC (Important Art Object, Gift of the Ogura Foundation)

This object is decorated with a hunting scene, which includes what looks like a deer struck by a spear. It may express wishes for a bountiful hunt.
[Toyokan Room 10 "Polished Stone Tools and Metal Tools of Korea"  April 25, 2017 (Tue) – October 15, 2017 (Sun)]
 
Clothing Iron
Not a Normal Clothing Iron

Clothing Iron
China, Eastern Han dynasty, 1st-3rd century

A clothing iron with coin-shaped molds, it may have been a magical tool for gaining riches, or perhaps an instrument used in alchemy.
[Toyokan Room 5 "Chinese Bronzes"  September 5, 2017 (Tue) – February 4, 2018 (Sun)]
 
Four Immortals: Hanshan and Shide, Xiama and Tieguai
Free Your Soul

Four Immortals: Hanshan and Shide, Xiama and Tieguai
Attributed to Liu Jun, China, Ming dynasty, 16th century

The Daoist immortal Tieguai has the power to project his soul anywhere he wishes. When he does this, his physical body appears lifeless, and was once accidentally cremated by one of his disciples!
[Toyokan Room 8 "Chinese Painting"  September 5, 2017 (Tue) – October 15, 2017 (Sun)]
 
Hinggi kombu (Shoulder garment), Warp ikat; skull tree and animal design
Praying for Victory

Hinggi kombu (Shoulder garment), Warp ikat; skull tree and animal design
Sumba, Indonesia, 19th century

Tribal warriors on the island of Pulau Sumba would take the heads of their defeated enemies. This garment has a pattern based on this custom, and expresses the wish for victory in battle.
Toyokan Room 13 "Asian Textiles: Indonesian Textiles"  July 4, 2017 (Tue) – September 24, 2017 (Sun)]
 
Mummy of Pasherienptah
Life after Death

Mummy of Pasherienptah
Excavated at Thebes, Egypt, 22nd dynasty, ca. 945-730 BC (Gift of Egyptian Department of Antiquities)

To ensure life after death, the people of ancient Egypt created mummies to preserve the physical body.
Toyokan Room3 "Artifacts from West Asia and Egypt"  July 19, 2017 (Wed) – October 22, 2017 (Sun)]

 

Most events will be held between September 5-18!

"Premium Friday" at the Tokyo National Museum: Easy Seated Yoga

Surrounded by magnificent Buddhist statues, participants will go through a variety of seated yoga poses to soothe the body and soul.

"Premium Friday" at the Tokyo National Museum: Easy Seated Yoga
September 29 (Fri): 15-minute sessions beginning at 18:00, 18:30, 19:00, and 19:30
Instructor: Miho Watanabe
Room 1, Toyokan
20 seats on a first-come first-served basis

 

Asian Traditional Music

Asian Traditional Music

Traditional Music of Kyrgyzstan: Komuz String Instrument Performance
September 8 (Fri): 15:00-15:30, 17:00-17:30
Performer: UMETBAEVA KALYIMAN
Room 1, Toyokan

Traditional Music of China: Pipa Lute Performance
September 29 (Fri): 13:30-14:00, 15:30-16:00
Performer: SHAO RONG
Room 1, Toyokan

 

Taste Asian Foods

Taste Asian Foods

Food cars with a variety of drinks and cuisine will be waiting to serve visitors in front of the Asian Gallery.

 

 

MYSTICAL ASIA at the Tokyo National Museum

Date
September 5, 2017 (Tue) - October 15, 2017 (Sun)  
Venue
Toyokan