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Kukai's World: The Arts of Esoteric Buddhism

Kukai's World: The Arts of Esoteric Buddhism
Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries   July 20, 2011 (Wed) - September 25, 2011 (Sun)

  

Kukai, founder of the Shingon-sect Esoteric Buddhism, saw illustrations as effective tools for transmitting Esoteric Buddhist teachings, which are complex and difficult to explain in words. For this reason, great importance was attached to visible forms in Shingon-sect Esoteric Buddhism. This exhibition introduces masterpieces of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, with a focus on the period when philosophical elements maintained a strong presence in the works. Along with objects brought by Kukai from Tang China, works directly related to him are also featured, such as his writings and sculptures produced under his instruction.

General Information

Period Wednesday, July 20 - Sunday, September 25, 2011
Venue Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays until 18:00
Fridays until 20:00
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays(Except for Monday, August 15 and September 19)
Admission Adults: 1,500 (1,300/1,200) yen
University students: 1,200 (1,000/900) yen
High school students: 900 (700/600) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate advance / group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
* Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
* Advance tickets are on sale at the Museum ticket office (during museum hours, 30 minutes before closing hour) and e-Ticket Pia (P-code:764-577), Lawson Ticket (L-code:33555), E-Plus, CN Playguide and other major ticketing agencies from Friday, April 1 to Tuseday, July 19, 2011.
* Advance pair tickets (two admissions, 2200yen) are sold at the Museum ticket office (during museum hours, 30 minutes before closing hour), e-Ticket Pia (P-code:764-578), Lawson Ticket (L-code:33555), E-Plus and other major ticketing agencies from Friday, April 1 to Tuseday, May 31, 2011.
* Special exhibition "Sun Yat-sen and Umeya Shokichi: China and Japan 100 years ago" (Tuesday, July 26 - Sunday, September 4, 2011, Honkan) requires a separate admission fee.
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizer Tokyo National Museum, The Yomiuri Shimbun, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc.
With the Support of Agency of Cultural Affairs
With the special assistance of Ninnaji, Daigoji, Kongobuji, Toji(Kyoogokokuji), Zentsuji, Jingoji
With the Assistance of Association of Shingon Head Temples, Nankai Electric Railway Co., Ltd.
With the Sponsorship of Aioi Nissay Dowa insurance Co., Ltd., Kinden Corporation, Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, Non-Destructive Inspection Co., Ltd.
General Inquiries 03-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Website http://kukai2011.jp (In Japanese)
The website has closed with the end of the exhibition.

Highlight of the Exhibition

 

仏像曼荼羅
From the left Standing Zochoten (of the Four Heavenly Kings), Taishakuten Riding an Elephant, Daiitoku Myoo riding a bull (of the Five Bright Kings), Standing Gozanze Myoo(of the Five Bright Kings), Seated Kongoho Bosatsu (of the Five Great Bosatsu), Seated Kongogyo Bosatsu (of the Five Great Bosatsu), Seated Bonten, Standing Jikokuten (of the Four Heavenly Kings)
Heian period, dated 839, National Treasure, Toji (Kyoogokokuji), Kyoto
 

 

Part 1: Kukai - Father of Japanese Mikkyo

Kobo Daishi
Kamakura period, 13th century
Important Cultural Property
Nishiaraidaishi Sojiji, Tokyo
(on exhibit from August 2 to August 28, 2011)
聾瞽指帰 Beginning of a scroll
Roko shiiki (Teachings for the Deaf and Blind) 
By Kukai
Heian period, 8th-9th century
National Treasure
Kongobuji, Wakayama
(Volume 1: on exhibit from July 20 to August 21, 2011, Volume 2: on exhibit from August 23 to September 25, 2011)

 

 

 

Part 2: Voyage to China in Search of the Law - Studying Esoteric Buddhism and Tang Culture

宝相華迦陵頻伽蒔絵冊子箱
Manuscript Box, With maki-e design of hosoge flowers and mythical birds
Heian period, 10th century
National Treasure
Ninnaji, Kyoto
(on exhibit from July 20 to August 21, 2011)
密教法具
 
錫杖頭
Esoteric Ritual Objects
Brought to Japan by Kukai
Tang Dynasty, 9th century
National Treasure
Toji (Kyoogokokuji), Kyoto
 
Monk's Staff Headpiece
Tang Dynasty, 8th century
National Treasure
Zentsuji, Kagawa
諸尊仏龕
 
真言七祖像 Fuku
Niche with Various Buddha Figures
Brought to Japan by Kukai
Tang Dynasty, 8th century
National Treasure
Kongobuji, Wakayama
 
Seven Patriarchs of the Shingon Sect
By Li Zhen (Zenmui, Kongochi, Fuku, Ichigyo, and Keika images), brought to Japan by Kukai
Tang Dynasty, dated 805(Zenmui, Kongochi, Fuku, Ichigyo, and Keika images) and Heian period, dated 821(Ryumo and Ryuchi images)
National Treasure
Toji (Kyoogokokuji), Kyoto,
(Ryumo,Zenmui: on exhibit from July 20 to August 7, 2011, Ryuchi,Kongochi,Fuku: on exhibit from August 9 to September 4, 2011, Ichigyo,Keika: on exhibit from September 6 to September 25, 2011)

 

 

 

Part 3: The Formative Period - Jingoji, Mt. Koya, and Toji

両界曼荼羅図
Kongokai
Ryokai (Two Worlds) mandala, Known as the Takao mandala
Heian period, 9th century
National Treasure
Jingoji, Kyoto
(Taizokai: on exhibit from July 20 to July 31, 2011, Kongokai: on exhibit from August 2 to August 15, 2011)
両界曼荼羅図
Taizokai
Ryokai (Two Worlds) mandala, Known as the Blood mandala
Heian period, 12th century
Important Cultural Property
Kongobuji, Wakayama
(Kongokai: on exhibit from August 16 to September 4, 2011, Taizokai: on exhibit from September 6 to September 25, 2011)
灌頂歴名
Beginning of a scroll
Record of the Kanjo Initiation Rite
By Kukai
Heian period, dated 812
National Treasure
Jingoji, Kyoto
(on exhibit from July 20 to August 21, 2011)
風信帖
The First letter
Fushinjo Collection of Letters to Saicho,
By Kukai
Heian period, 9th century
National Treasure
Toji (Kyoogokokuji), Kyoto
(on exhibit from August 23 to September 25, 2011)

 

 

 

Part 4: The Light of the Law - Passing Down Kukai's Legacy

両界曼荼羅図
Taizokai(detail)
 
 
(detail)
Ryokai (Two Worlds) mandala, Known as the Saiin mandala
Heian period, 9th century
National Treasure
Toji (Kyoogokokuji), Kyoto
(Taizokai: on exhibit from July 20 to August 21, 2011, Kongokai: on exhibit from August 23 to September 25, 2011)
 
Taishakuten (of the Twelve Heavenly Guardians)
Heian period, 9th century
National Treasure
Saidaiji, Nara
(on exhibit from August 9 to August 28, 2011)

 

 国宝 阿弥陀如来および両脇侍像
 
 重要文化財 如意輪観音菩薩坐像
Amida Nyorai with Attendants
Heian period, dated 888
National Treasure
Ninnaji, Kyoto
 
Seated Nyoirin Kannon Bosatsu
Heian period, 9th century
Important Cultural Property
Daigoji, Kyoto

 

国宝 観心寺縁起資財帳
Beginning of a scroll
Record of the History and Inventory of Kanshinji
Heian peirod, dated 883
National Treasure
Kanshinji, Osaka
(on exhibit from July 20 to August 21, 2011)

 

Yakushi Nyorai with Attendants
Heian period, dated 913
National Treasure,
Daigoji, Kyoto
 

 

Exhibit for only 10 days

重要文化財 三鈷杵(飛行三鈷杵)   金念珠
Three-pronged Vajra Club, Known as the "Flying three-pronged vajra club"
Attributed to Kukai's possessions
Heian period, 9th century
Important Cultural Property
Kongobuji, Wakayama
(on exhibit from July 31 to August 11, 2011)
  Gold Prayer Beads
Attributed to Kukai's possessions
Tang Dynasty, 9th century
Ryukoin, Wakayama
(on exhibit from July 20 to July 30, 2011)