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National Treasures of Japan

National Treasures of Japan
Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries   October 15, 2014 (Wed) - December 7, 2014 (Sun)

  
Dogu Figurine, Known as the “Figure with clasped palms”, Late Jomon period, 2000–1000 BC, Excavated from Kazahari site No.1 in Hachinohe, Aomori, Korekawa Archaeological Institution, Hachinohe, Aomori (National Treasure)

This exhibition features National Treasures gathered from across various periods and genres under the theme of the “form of prayers,”─tangible objects that people have placed their hopes in and cherished wholeheartedly. A considerable attempt is being made through these National Treasures to re-evaluate the essence of the formation of Japanese culture, as seen in the “form of prayers.”  Works on exhibit are all National Treasures. This truly is an exhibition that highlights the heart of Japanese culture.

Highlights of the Exhibition

General Information

Special Exhibition "National Treasures of Japan"  Vote for Your Favorite Artwork

Highlights of the Exhibition

Faith in Buddha
Faith in the Gods
Faith Envisioned through Text
Diversified Faith and Form
Buddhas in Form
The Shōsōin Treasures

* Objects will be rotated during the course of the exhibition period. Objects for which “on exhibit” dates are not specified will be on display for the full term of the exhibition.

Faith in Buddha

This section presents the essence of Buddhist culture from the Asuka and Nara periods, when the encounter with Buddhism brought about a rapid deepening of spirituality, and the Heian period, when aesthetics reached maturity.

 

 Descent of Amitabha and the Heavenly Multitude

Descent of Amitabha and the Heavenly Multitude
Heian period, 12th century
National Treasure
Yushi Hachiman Association of Mt. Koya, Wakayama
[on exhibit from November 11 to December 7, 2014]

A masterpiece of raigo (“heavenly descent”) painting depicting Amida Nyorai and his attendant deities descending on a bank of clouds from the Pure Land.

 

Fugen Bosatsu (Samantabhadra)
Heian period, 12th century
National Treasure
Tokyo National Museum
[on exhibit from October 15 to November 9, 2014]

Fugen Bosatsu

 

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Faith in the Gods

This section introduces archaeological artifacts, arms and armor, and Shinto idols produced in the context of  worship. The preeminent modeling of these National Treasures reveals the profound devotion to a wide variety of deities that persisted through successive periods.

 

All five dogu earthenware figurines below designated as National Treasures will grace the galleries between November 21 and December 7.

   
Dogu Figurine, Known as the “Jomon Goddess”
Middle Jomon period, 3000–2000 BC
Excavated from Nishinomae site in Funagata-machi,Yamagata
National Treasure
Yamagata Prefecture (housed at Yamagata Prefectural Museum)


With no facial expression and a body that is deformed to the extreme, this figure offers an impression of elegant refinement.

  Dogu Figurine, Known as the “Hollow figure”
Late Jomon period, 2000–1000 BC
Excavated from Chobonaino site in Hakodate, Hokkaido
National Treasure
Hakodate city (housed at Hakodate Jomon Culture Center), Hokkaido

Hollowed out on the inside, this figurine embodies the superlative technical skill of the Jomon people.


  Dogu Figurine, Known as the “Masked Goddess”
Late Jomon period, 2000–1000 BC
Excavated from Nakappara site in Chino, Nagano
National Treasure
Chino city (housed at Togariishi Museum of Jomon Archaeology), Nagano

This female deity figure appears to wear an inverted triangular mask. Sense the emotion emanating from behind the mask.
on exhibit from November 21 to December 7, 2014

 

 

Dogu Figurine, Known as the “Figure with clasped palms”
Late Jomon period, 2000–1000 BC
Excavated from Kazahari site No.1 in Hachinohe, Aomori
National Treasure
Korekawa Archaeological Institution, Hachinohe, Aomori

 

What does it see before it, this figure sitting with knees bent, gazing out over its hands clasped in front of its breast?

  Dogu Figurine, Known as the “Jomon Venus”
Middle Jomon period, 3000–2000 BC
Excavated from Tanabatake site in Chino, Nagano
National Treasure
Chino city (housed at Togariishi
Museum of Jomon Archaeology), Nagano

In contrast to the noble facial features, the softly swelling curvaceous beauty of the belly and buttocks of the figure convey a sense of maternity.

on exhibit: through out the exhibition period

 

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Faith Envisioned through Text

This section presents aspects of faith and prayer directly and indirectly through the various literary and documentary work of National Treasures.

 

Gold Seal Gold Seal
Yayoi period, 1st century
Excavated in Shikanoshima, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka
National Treasure
Fukuoka City Museum, Fukuoka
[on exhibit from November 18 to November 30, 2014]

This seal is engraved with the most famous five-character inscription in the history of ancient Japan: “Kan (no) Wa (no) Na (no) Koku-o” (King of the state of Na in Wa under the Han dynasty).

 

Nezame monogatari emaki (Illustrated scroll of the Tale of Nezame)(detail)
Heian period, 12th century
National Treasure
The Museum Yamato Bunkakan, Nara
[on exhibit from October 15 to November 9, 2014]

An illustrated scroll depicting the tale of Yowa no nezame (Awakening at Midnight). In it, the world of courtly literature with its descriptions of Buddhist devotion, romantic love, and familial affection unfold through graceful pictures and calligraphy.

Nezame monogatari emaki

 

Kitabatake Chikafusa’s Sacred Relics Distribution Certificate

Kitabatake Chikafusa’s Sacred Relics Distribution Certificate
(from the Archives of Toji Temple in One Hundred Boxes)
Kamakura period, dated 1324
National Treasure
Kyoto Prefectural Library and Archives

This is a receipt issued for the distribution of Toji reliquary contents to Emperor Godaigo and Kitabatake Chikafusa.

 

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Diversified Faith and Form

This section provides an overview of the shape and legacy of Japanese faith from the Kamakura period onward, as it achieved various complex and multifaceted developments.

 

 Pine Tree with Autumn Plants

Pine Tree with Autumn Plants
By Hasegawa Tohaku
Azuchi-Momoyama period, ca. 1592
National Treasure
Chishakuin, Kyoto
[on exhibit from October 15 to November 9, 2014]

This painting was produced to adorn the walls of Shounji, built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in memory of his beloved son Tsurumatsu.

 

Tea Bowl, Oido type, Known as “Kizaemon” Tea Bowl, Oido type, Known as “Kizaemon”
Jizhou ware
Korea, Joseon dynasty, 16th century
National Treasure
Kohoan, Kyoto

Ido-type bowls made in Korea were highly prized in Japan for use in the tea ceremony. This piece represents the pinnacle of these wares.

 

Portrait of Hasekura Tsunenaga
(from the Materials Related to the Keicho-era Mission to Europe)
17th century
National Treasure
Sendai City Museum, Miyagi

The subject is depicted as a Christian devotee with rosary beads and a cross clasped in his hands. It is an oil painting that was painted in Europe.

Portrait of Hasukura Tsunenaga

 

Bingata stencil-dyed simple gauze weave robe with design of phoenixes, auspicious clouds and mist on yellow ground Bingata stencil-dyed simple gauze weave silk robe with design of phoenixes, auspicious clouds and mist on yellow ground
(from Historical Materials of the Sho Family, Rulers of the Ryukyu Kingdom)
Second Sho dynasty, 18th – 19th century
National Treasure
Naha City Museum of History, Okinawa
Image credit: Agancy for Cultural Affairs
[on exhibit from November 11 to December 7, 2014]

Yellow was the royal color of the ruling  family Sho of Ryukyu kingdom. The designs of phoenixes and auspicious clouds along with other motifs are dyed in vibrant colors.

 

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Buddhas in Form

In the mid-6th century, King Seong of Baekje sent a Buddhist sculpture with sutra texts to Japan as gifts, marking the first formal transmission of Buddhism to Japan. From that time on, Buddha images were produced continuously throughout each successive era. This section features eight important Buddhist sculptures designated as National Treasures.

 

Seated Kannon Bosatsu (Avalokitesvara) and Seated Seishi Bosatsu (Mahasthamaprapta), from Amida Nyorai (Amitabha) triad
Heian period, dated 1148
National Treasure
Sanzen’in, Kyoto
Photo credit: Agency for Cultural Affairs

 

Standing Zenzai doji (Sudhana-sresthidarak), among the attendants of Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri)
By Kaikei
Kamakura period, dated 1203–1220
National Treasure
Abe Monjuin, Nara

 


Miniature Five-story Pagoda of Gokurakubo, Gangoji Temple
Nara period, 8th century
National Treasure
Gangoji Temple, Nara

A Nara-period pagoda built with genuine construction methods of an actual building at a height of 5.5 meters. It is the only structural National Treasure in the exhibition.

 

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The Shōsōin Treasures

Featured: October 15 - November 3, 2014

Numerous treasures offered up with the deepest devotion to the Great Buddha of Todaiji have been carefully safeguarded and preserved through the Shōsōin Repository. For a limited time during the exhibition, eleven celebrated gems from this collection will be on view, presenting a glimpse of the quintessential Nara-period modeling style and techniques of the 8th century.

 

Major Works

 鳥毛立女屏風 第3扇(北倉44)  緑地彩絵箱(中倉155)
Ladies under the Trees, Decorated with bird feathers, Panels 1 and 3
North Storehouse 44
Nara period, 8th century
The Shōsōin Treasures
Box, With designs on green ground
Central Storehouse 155
Nara period, 8th century
The Shōsōin Treasures

 

 紅牙撥鏤撥(北倉28)  楓蘇芳染螺鈿槽琵琶(南倉101)
Red-stained Ivory Plectrum with Engraving
North Storehouse 28
Nara period, 8th century
The Shōsōin Treasures
Sappanwood–dyed Maple Lute, With designs in mother-of-pearl inlay
South Storehouse 101-1
Nara period, 8th century
The Shōsōin Treasures

 

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Related Events

Heiseikan Auditorium  August 8, 2014 (Fri) - August 10, 2014 (Sun)   13:00 - 16:15   RESERVE_FINISH

General Information

Period Wednesday, October 15 - Sunday, December 7, 2014
Venue Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays until 18:00
Fridays and November 1 and 2 until 20:00
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays (Except for Monday, November 3 and Monday, November 24), and closed Tuesday November 4, Tuesday November 25
Admission Adults: 1600 (1400/1300) yen
University students: 1200 (1000/900) yen
High school students: 900 (700/600) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free 
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate advance and group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
* Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
* Advance tickets will be on sale at the museum ticket booths (during museum opening hours excluding the last 30 minutes), Lawson Ticket (L-code: 32200), e-Ticket Pia (P-code: 776-176), Seven Ticket (Seven code: 030-612), E-Plus, and other major ticketing agencies from Wednesday, July 9 to Tuesday, October 14, 2014.
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
Organizers Tokyo National Museum, The Yomiuri Shimbun, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc.
With the Sponsorship of SOMPO JAPAN NIPPONKOA INSURANCE INC., Daishinsha Inc., Nippon Express Co., Ltd., Mizuho Bank, Ltd.
General Inquiries 03-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Website http://kokuhou2014.jp (In Japanese)