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 >> Honkan


The original Main Gallery (designed by the British architect Josiah Conder) was severely damaged in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. In contrast to western style of the original structure, the design of the present Honkan by Watanabe Jin is the more eastern "Emperor's Crown Style." Construction began in 1932, and the building was opened in 1938.
24 exhibition rooms on two floors provide a thorough introduction into Japanese art: "Highlights of Japanese Art" on the second floor introduces the development of Japanese art from Jomon through to the Edo period in a chronological manner, and genre galleries presenting specific rooms displaying ceramics, swords, lacquerwares, sculptures, modern decorative arts as well as the material culture of Ainu and Ryukyu are located on the first floor.

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2nd floor "Highlights of Japanese Art"

The Dawn of Japanese Art: Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun periods
Room 1  January 2, 2017 (Mon) - July 16, 2017 (Sun)

The Jomon culture began around 12,000 years ago. Earthenware vessels of this age with various motifs and styles are the starting point of "Highlights of Japanese Art." In the Yayoi period (450 B.C.- A.D. 250), pottery with a simplistic yet refined beauty and dotaku bell-shaped bronzes were prominent. Typical objects from the Kofun period (A.D. 250-600), such as haji, sue wares and haniwa figurines, as well as mirrors, arms and armor, saddlery, and accessory, which expresses the essence of metal and glass craftsmanship, are also featured.

Current exhibit includes:
Deep Bowl, From Ubayama Shell Mound, Kashiwai-machi, Ichikawa-shi, Chiba, Jomon period, 3000-2000 BC (Gift of Mr. Sugihara Sosuke)
(Terracotta tomb figure), Warrior in Armor, From Kamishiba Tumulus, Misato-machi, Takasaki-shi, Gunma, Kofun period, 6th century
(Terracotta tomb figure), Monkey, Attributed provenance: Dainichizuka Tumulus, Okinosu, Namegata-shi, Ibaraki, Kofun period, 6th century (Important Cultural Property)
From Kugahara, Ota-ku, Tokyo, Yayoi period, 1st-3rd century (Important Cultural Property, Private collection)
Mirror, Deity and horse carriage design,
From Samitatakarazuka Tumulus, Kawai-cho, Nara, Kofun period, 4th-5th century (Originally made in China, 2nd-3rd century) (Important Cultural Property)
Ridge-end Tile,
From former Fuchidaka Temple site, Fuchidaka-cho, Aisai-shi, Aichi, Nara period, 8th century

The Rise of Buddhism: Asuka–Nara period
Room 1  May 30, 2017 (Tue) - July 9, 2017 (Sun)

In the mid-6th century, Buddhism was officially introduced into Japan from the kingdom of Baekje on the southeastern coast of the Korean peninsula. Japanese culture made a remarkable progress with the adoption of Buddhism. This gallery features early Buddhist statues, sutras, reliquaries, and ritual implements from the Asuka and Nara periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Standing Buddha, Horyuji Treasures, Asuka period, 7th century
Tomoku bosatsu kyo Sutra, Vol. 2Votive sutra of Kibi no Yuri, Nara period, dated 766 (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Sorimachi Eisaku)
Ritual Objects Used to Consecrate Site of Kohfukuji Temple,
Excavated from under altar of Main Hall at Kohfukuji, Nara, Nara period, 8th century (National Treasure)

National Treasure Gallery: Lotus Sutra, Vol. 1, Known as "Sensoji kyo"
Room 2  May 9, 2017 (Tue) - June 4, 2017 (Sun)

This scroll is part of a decorative transcription of the Lotus Sutra. The transcription comprises ten volumes: eight containing the main text, as well as an opening and a closing. The name “Sensoji kyo” derives from Sensoji temple in Tokyo, where this transcription has been passed down through the ages. The neat, rounded characters were written by a single calligrapher across all volumes on the decorated paper, which was dyed brown with clove extract.

On Exhibit:
Lotus Sutra, Vol. 1, Known as "Sensoji kyo", Heian period, 11th century (National Treasure, Lent by Sensoji, Tokyo)

Zen and Ink Painting: Kamakura–Muromachi period
Room 3  May 30, 2017 (Tue) - July 9, 2017 (Sun)

This gallery features works by famous artists of the landscape-painting genre, along with famous works of bokuseki (calligraphy by Zen priests).

Current exhibit includes:
Chinese Statesman Lu Shang and King Wen, Attributed to Kano Motonobu, Formerly sliding door paintings at Daisen-in, Daitokuji, Kyoto, Muromachi period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property)
Taoist Immortals Queen Mother of the West and King Father of the East,
Attributed to Kano Motonobu, Formerly sliding door paintings at Daisen-in, Daitokuji, Kyoto, Muromachi period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property)

Buddhist Art: Heian–Muromachi period
Room 3  May 30, 2017 (Tue) - July 9, 2017 (Sun)

Buddhist art is one of the major genres that define Japanese art. Many masterworks date from the late Heian period, a time characterized as classical in Japanese art history. After the Kamakura period, Buddhist art further developed in its materials, methods, and styles as Zen schools and other new Buddhist schools emerged, together with the influence from the Chinese arts. This exhibit features artworks from the Heian to Kamakura periods, when Buddhist art most flourished, adding siginificant objects from the Nanbokucho and Muromachi periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Standing Prince Shotoku, Kamakura period, 13th–14th century (Lent by Honshoji, Aichi)
Shijoko Nyorai (Vikirnosnisa),
Kamakura period, 14th century (Gift of Mr. Takashima Kyuzo)
Fugen (Samantabhadra) with Ten Rasetsunyo (Raksasis),
Kamakura period, 14th century (Lent by the OKURA MUSEUM OF ART, Tokyo)
Words of Prayer,
By Sesonji Sadanari, Kamakura period, dated 1284 (Important Cultural Property)
Words of Prayer by Fujiwara no Moromichi, Heian period, dated 1088 (Important Cultural Property, Private collection)

Courtly Art: Heian–Muromachi period
Room 3  May 30, 2017 (Tue) - July 9, 2017 (Sun)

The courtiers were strongly involved in the arts through the Heian and Muromachi periods, their aesthetic tastes playing a great role in Japanese art history. Literature works such as waka poems and other calligraphy written by courtiers, and e-maki narrative picture scrolls are displayed in this room with decorative art objects.

Current exhibit includes:
Illustrated Scroll of the Warrior Watanabe no Tsuna, Muromachi period, 16th century
Segment of
Ise shu Poetry Anthology, Known as "Orikeru" section of "Ishiyama gire", Attributed to Fujiwara no Kinto, Heian period, 12th century (Important Art Object, Gift of Mr. Takagi Seikaku)
Eight-foiled Mirror, Auspicious flower and pair of phoenixes design,
Heian period, 11th–12th century (Lent by Izusan jinja, Shizuoka)

The Art of Tea Ceremony
Room 4  March 22, 2017 (Wed) - June 11, 2017 (Sun)

This gallery highlights the way of tea through its various art works such as paintings and calligraphy, vases, vessels for kaiseki meals, kettles, tea caddies, and tea bowls.

Current exhibit includes:
Water Jar, Shino type, Fishing net design, Mino ware, Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century (Private collection)
Tea Caddy, Bunrin (“apple”) type; known as the “Uji”, China, Southern Song–Yuan dynasty, 13th century
Tea Kettle, Plum tree and bamboo design, Ashiya ware, Muromachi period, 15th century (Lent by The Satoh Artcraft Research & Scholarship Foundation)
Poem on Shikishi Paper, Attributed to Ono no Tofu, Heian period, 11th century (on exhibit from April 25, 2017)

Attire of the Military Elite: Heian - Edo period
Room 5 & 6  March 14, 2017 (Tue) - June 4, 2017 (Sun)

Beginning with the sword which is the most important possession of a samurai, this gallery focuses on arms and armor, saddlery, attire of the warriors as well as their portraits and hand-writings.

Current exhibit includes:
Domaru Type Armor, With black leather lacing and white lacing on top, omodaka style, ridged helmet, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property)
Style Sword Mounting, With scabbard decorated with spiral bands of silver-plated copper, Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure, Lent by Niutsuhime jinja, Wakayama, On exhibit through March 20, 2017)
Sword, Known as “Shishio”, By swordsmith in Yamato, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, On exhibit from March 22, 2017)
Sword Mounting (For tachi sword known as “Shishio”), With black-lacquered scabbard, Kamakura period, 13th - 14th century (Important Cultural Property, On exhibit from March 22, 2017)

Folding Screens and Sliding Door Paintings: Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period
Room 7  May 30, 2017 (Tue) - July 2, 2017 (Sun)

This gallery is dedicated to the genre of shohei-ga, which includes mural paintings, fusuma paintings and byobu paintings. The room is especially designed for an effective display of grand-scale paintings.

Current exhibit includes:
Wind God and Thunder God, By Ogata Korin, Edo period, 18th century (Important Cultural Property)

The Arts of Daily Life: Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period
Room 8  May 9, 2017 (Tue) - July 30, 2017 (Sun)

The maturing of Japanese culture supported by the military and commoner classes continued throughout the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods. This gallery introduces the craft of interior furnishings and daily utensils that adorned the life of the people during these periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Cabinet, Fishing net and heron design in maki-e lacquer, Edo period, 17th century
Uchikake (Outer garment), Plum, chrysanthemum, wisteria, iris bouquet, round fan, and fret pattern design on white figured satin ground, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mrs. Henry)
Hitoe (Unlined summer garment), Stream, autumn grasses, and cicada design on purple ro gauze ground, Edo period, 19th century
Nail Covers, Narcissus design in cloisonné, Edo period, 17th–18th century
Water Jar, Light blue glaze with lotus design in underglaze blue, Imari ware, Edo period, 17th century

Developments in Painting and Calligraphy: Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period
Room 8  May 9, 2017 (Tue) - June 25, 2017 (Sun)

This gallery introduces the dynamic and multi-faceted world of paintings and calligraphy from the Azuchi-Momoyama to the Edo period.

Current exhibit includes:
The Birth of Ugayafukiaezu no Mikoto, By Kano Tan'yu, Edo period, 17th century
Landscapes of Izu and Sagami Peninsulas, Volume 2,
By Tani Buncho, Edo period, dated 1793 (Important Cultural Property)
Ode to the Red Cliff,
Calligraphy by Hon'ami Koetsu, Edo period, 17th century

Noh and Kabuki: Bugaku Costumes
Room 9  April 18, 2017 (Tue) - June 11, 2017 (Sun)

Bugaku was introduced into Japan at the end of the 8th century, where it developed independently as a performing art enacted during rituals at shrines, temples, and the imperial court. Bugaku costumes were made in a traditional style showing influence from the culture of the imperial court. Moreover, costumes for Chinese-style Bugaku, which is called “Saho” or “Togaku,” are characterized by red tones, while those for Korean-style Bugaku, known as “Uho” or “Komagaku,” show extensive use of blues. This exhibition shows costumes from two energetic Korean-Style Bugaku dances: “Kitoku,” and “Bairo.” We invite visitors to compare the colors and designs of these costumes to become more familiar with this elegant performing art that developed under the patronage of the imperial court.

Current exhibit includes:
Bugaku Costume for Kitoku Role, Ryoto, ho, and hakama, Edo period, 19th century
Bugaku Costume for Bairo Role, Ryoto, ho, and hakama, Edo period, 19th century

Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Ukiyo-e
Room 10  May 16, 2017 (Tue) - June 11, 2017 (Sun)

The genre of ukiyo-e, which portrays the common people of the Edo period (1603–1868), initially consisted of only hand-painted works. Mass production of ukiyo-e later became possible through woodblock printing, while advances in carving and printing techniques eventually led to the creation of multi-colored prints called nishiki-e.

Current exhibit includes:
Actor Nakamura Nakazo, from the Series "Azuma Ogi", By Katsukawa Shunsho Edo period, 18th century (Important Art Object)
Umaya Riverbank in the Eastern Capital of Edo, By Utagawa Kuniyoshi Edo period, 19th century
One Hundred Famous Places of Edo: Irises at Horikiri, By Utagawa Hiroshige, Edo period, dated 1857
Collected Street Scenes: Odawaracho, By Katsushika Hokusai Edo period, ca.1825

Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Fashion
Room 10  April 18, 2017 (Tue) - June 11, 2017 (Sun)

Introduces the fashion of the Edo period townspeople. Enjoy comparing with the ukiyo-e works exhibited in the same room.

Current exhibit includes:
Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings), Design of agricultural scenes of the four seasons on brown figured satin ground, Edo period, 19th century
(Garment with small wrist openings), Paulownia tree design on white figured satin ground, Edo period, 17th–18th century
Inro (Medicine case), Maple and cherry design in maki-e lacquer, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Quincy A. Shaw)

2nd floor

Netsuke: The Prince Takamado Collection
The Prince Takamado Collection Room  April 25, 2017 (Tue) - July 30, 2017 (Sun)

Cut Piece: Apple, By Akira Kuroiwa, 1997
Hagoromo, By Isshu Kishi, 1988
Grooming, By Kiho Takagi, 1995
Owl, By Onosato Zanmai, 2002
Hatching Gecko, By Susan Wraight, 1997

Room T2  April 25, 2017 (Tue) - June 4, 2017 (Sun)

Reiunji temple, located in the Yushima area of Tokyo, was founded by the priest Jogon (1639–1702) in the year 1691. This thematic exhibition presents exquisite objects from Reiunji together with related articles from the Museum’s collection, introducing visitors to the importance of this temple and its treasures, and to the accomplishments of its founding priest, Jogon. 

Current exhibit includes:
Mantra of the Buddha Mahavairocana of the Womb Realm in Sanskrit, By Jogon, Edo period, 17th century (Lent by Reiunji, Tokyo)
Mandala of the Two Realms, Edo period, 17th century (Lent by Reiunji, Tokyo)
Miroku (Maitreya) Mandala, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Reiunji, Tokyo)
Annotated Sutras, By Jogon, Edo period, dated 1694 (on exhibit through May 14, 2017)
The Three Elements of Sanskrit (The forms, pronunciations, and meanings of Sanskrit characters) , Compiled by Jogon, Edo period, dated 1682 (on exhibit from May 16, 2017)

1st floor

Japanese Sculpture
Room 11  April 18, 2017 (Tue) - July 23, 2017 (Sun)

This gallery introduces the history of sculptural art in Japan through prototypical wood-sculptures featuring examples dating from the Heian and Kamakura periods, the zenith of Japanese sculpture.

Current exhibit includes:
Fugen Bosatsu (Samantabhadra) on Elephant, Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure, Lent by the OKURA MUSEUM OF ART, Tokyo, On exhibit from May 9, 2017)
Standing Sho Kannon Bosatsu (Aryavalokitesvara),
Heian period, 9th-10th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Kanshinji, Osaka, On exhibit from May 9, 2017)
Standing Juni Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals),
Kamakura period, 12th-13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Sogenji, Kanagawa, On exhibit from May 9, 2017)

Room 12  March 22, 2017 (Wed) - June 18, 2017 (Sun)

Features maki-e works from Heian to Edo period. The exhibit shows the history and beauty of maki-e, a unique lacquerwork method that developed in Japan.

Current exhibition includes:
Writing Box, Mount Hatsuse design in maki-e lacquer, Muromachi–Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property)
Writing Box, Mount Hira design in maki-e lacquer, By Shiomi Masanari Edo period, 18th century (Important Cultural Property)
Sutra Box, Dragon coiled around sword design in maki-e lacquer, Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure, Lent by Taimadera Okuno'in, Nara)
Tebako (Cosmetic box) and Contents, Paulownia design in maki-e lacquer, Donated to the shrine in Nanbokucho period, dated 1390 (National Treasure, Lent by Kumano-hayatama Taisha, Wakayama)

Metalwork: Ornamentation in Buddhism
Room 13  April 11, 2017 (Tue) - June 11, 2017 (Sun)

Decoration in Buddhism involves sumptuous representations of Buddhas, as well as ritual interiors of temple halls. The adornments used for this purpose are known collectively in Japanese as shogongu. This exhibition introduces Buddhist ritual implements such as containers for sarira, or literally, “Buddha’s relics,” together with items for esoteric Buddhist altars, and interior decor including ritual banners and pendent floral openwork ornaments. The works present an overview of multifarious metalwork techniques such as casting, carving, and forging.

Current exhibit includes:
Keman (Pendent ornament), Lotus flower design, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Kongorinji, Shiga)
Ban (Buddhist ornamental banners)
, With beaded decorations, Muromachi period, dated 1485 and 1492
Mandalas of the Two Realms,
Kamakura period, dated 1194 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Tokumanji, Ibaraki, on exhibit through June 4, 2017)

Japanese Swords
Room 13  April 25, 2017 (Tue) - July 17, 2017 (Mon)

Exhibits selected swords and sword-fittings from the Heian to Edo periods, including the Katana Sword, Known as “Nakigitsune”, By Kuniyoshi.

Current exhibit includes:
Katana SwordKnown as "Nakigitsune", By Kuniyoshi, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Watanabe Seiichiro)
Tachi Sword, Known as "Okada giri", By Yoshifusa, Kamakura period, 13th century (National Treasure)
Sword Guard, Tomoe (comma shapes) design in openwork, By Nobuie, Azuchi–Momoyama period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property, on exhibit from May 9, 2017)

Room 13  March 22, 2017 (Wed) - June 11, 2017 (Sun)

From Japan's first glazed ceramics of the Nara period to the various wares of the late Edo period, the exhibits will introduce the history of Japanese ceramics through masterworks according to time period and production sites.

Current exhibit includes:
Large Jar, With fire marks, Bizen ware, Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century
Squat Flower Vase, Shigaraki ware, Muromachi period, 16th century (Private collection)
Bowl, Cherry blossom and maple design in overglaze enamel; with a trumpet-shell seal, By Nin'nami Dohachi, Edo period, ca. mid–19th century (Important Art Object, Private collection)
Bowl, Cherry tree design in openwork and overglaze enamel, By Nin'nami Dohachi, Edo period, 19th century
Large Dish, Cherry blossom and figure design in overglaze enamel, Imari ware, Edo period, 18th century
Water Jar, with Lugs, Brown glaze, Takatori ware, Edo period, 17th century (Private collection)
Tea Caddy in Bunrin (Apple) Shape, Black glaze; known as "Mochizuki", Satsuma ware, Edo period, 18th century (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)

Room 14  May 23, 2017 (Tue) - August 27, 2017 (Sun)

Current exhibit includes:
Bodhisattva Mask, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Juzo Jinja, Ishikawa)
Bugaku Mask: Kotokuraku, Heian period, dated 1160 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Tamukeyama Hachimangu, Nara)
Bugaku Mask: Nasori, Heian period, dated 1178(Important Cultural Property, Lent by Atsuta Jingu, Aichi, on exhibit through July 9, 2017)
Bugaku Mask: Warawamai, Kamakura period, dated 1211(Important Cultural Property, Lent by Masumida Jinja, Aichi, on exhibit from July 11, 2017)
Gyodo Mask: Gobujogoten, Formerly passed down at Niutsuhime Jinja, Wakayama, Kamakura period, 14th century

Records of History: The Japanese word hinagata
Room 15  April 18, 2017 (Tue) - June 11, 2017 (Sun)

The Japanese word hinagata denotes miniature reproductions, prototypes, formats, or models of style or form. This exhibition introduces the world of hinagata through illustrious varieties, including models for popular designs of the time, and representations of traditional artistic techniques.

Current exhibit includes:
Model of Hiunkaku (Flying cloud pavilion), Edo period, 19th century
Miniature Models of Inuoumono (Dog chasing) of the Takeda School, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Muneyoshi)
Reproduction of Heike Nokyo Sutra,  By Chomei Anshun and others Original: Itsukushima Shrine, Dated 1882-84, Original: Heian period, dated 1164

The Prayers of the Ainu People
Room 16  March 22, 2017 (Wed) - June 11, 2017 (Sun)

The Ainu people believed that everything in their rich natural environment, from the vast plateaus of their native northern landscapes to the infinite expanse of the ocean, possessed a soul. Things which were essential to human life and beyond human capability were regarded as deities and worshipped. The Ainu believed that a stable lifestyle would be impossible without the provision and protection of the gods. They prayed for a life of continued peace, and held rituals to verbally express their gratitude toward the gods for heeding their prayers.
This exhibition features ritual items used by the Ainu people, including crowns and necklaces, as well as implements such as inau, iku-pasui, and wooden figurines. There are also various implements that were used in the ceremonial sacrifices of bears. Together with paintings of Ainu, these objects give us insight into how the Ainu people prayed to their gods.

Current exhibit includes:
Sea Turtle Skull, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century
Sash for Shaman,
Sakhalin Ainu, 19th century (Gift of the Hokkaido Administration Office)
Ritual Staffs,
Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition)
Wooden Figurine,
Sakhalin Uilta, 19th century (Gift of Ms. Hirako Hatsu)
Accessories for Bear Cub,
Sakhalin Ainu, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)
Ritual Hoe-shaped Crest,
Excavated at Sakurayama, Kakuta, Kuriyama-cho, Hokkaido, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Oda Katsukichi and Mr. Izumi Rintaro)
Portrait of Tobu, the Chieftain of Monbetsu, Ezo,
By Attributed to Kakizaki Hakyo, Edo period, dated 1783

Conservation and Restoration
Room 17  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 8, 2018 (Sun)

>> detailed information
The preservation and conservation of cultural properties are essential aspects of our Museum's mission. From this point of view, this room features object research and examination, environmental maintenance of storage and exhibition rooms, and conservation procedures applied in accordance to materials and conditions of the objects.


Modern Art
Room 18  May 30, 2017 (Tue) - July 9, 2017 (Sun)

This gallery features paintings and sculptures from the Meiji to Taisho period. Since it first opened in 1872 as the exposition venue of the Ministry of Education, Tokyo National Museum has collected important artworks that signify the development of modern Japanese art. The exhibit consists of selected works from the collection.

Current exhibit includes:
Eight Views of Omi Province, By Imamura Shiko, Dated 1912 (Important Cultural Property)
Portrait of Madame H,
By Wada Eisaku, Dated 1911 (Gift of Mr. Hatano Mototake)
By Ogiwara Morie, Mold: 1910; cast: 2010
By Suzuki Chokichi, Dated 1892 (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Japan Delegate Office for World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago)

Education Center: Education Space
Room 19  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 8, 2018 (Sun)

Designing at TNM
Exploring The TNM Collection
Making at TNM
Searching for National Treasures at TNM
Touching TNM

Room 19  April 18, 2017 (Tue) - March 31, 2018 (Sat)

This year’s reproduction project features a garment from Okinawa, made by using the island’s traditional bingata dyeing technique. With a mass of colorful peony flowers, buds, and leaves, all dyed on a white background, the original work is entitled: Bingata Garment with Peony Design on White Cotton. The intricate design structure and vivid colors gave our team ample opportunity to explore this superb dyeing technique that blossomed in the 19th-century Ryukyu Kingdom in Okinawa. What kind of dyeing techniques allow such minutely-detailed flower petals and leaf shapes, and what kind of culture nurtured the colorful style of bingata? This display explores answers to these questions through a combination of research, fieldwork, and hands-on reproduction.