The Tenjukoku Shucho Mandara and the Statue of Prince Shotoku
|Period||Tuesday, March 14 - Sunday, April 9, 2006|
|Venue||Roon 6, The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)|
|Hours||9:30 - 17:00
- 20:00 on the following Fridays; March 31 and April 7, 2006
- 18:00 on Saturdays and Sundays in April (Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
|Admissions||Free with regular museum admission fee
Adult 420 (210) yen, University Student 130 (70) yen
High school, junior high school and elementary school students: Free
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate group (more than 20 persons) tickets.
* Disabled persons are admitted free, with one companion. Valid identification requested upon entry.
* Persons over 65 are allowed free entry. Proof of age (driver's license, passport, etc.) requested upon entry.
|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 Nezu Station
|Organizers||Tokyo National Museum, Horyuji Temple, Chuguji Temple|
|Related lecture (in Japanese)|
Faith and Syncretism: Saicho and the Treasures of Tendai
Heiseikan, Tuesday, March 28 - Sunday, May 7, 2006
|About the Tenjukoku Shucho Mandara|
Tenjukoku Shucho Mandara, Asuka period, 7th century (Chuguji, Nara, National Treasure)
The Tenjukoku Shucho, originally made in the Asuka period (early 7th century), is the oldest existing example of Japanese embroidery, apart from excavated objects. In the Edo period, remains from the original embroidery and parts of its replica made during the late Kamakura period (late 13th century) were gathered into the present form. Amazingly, the parts retaining the brighter colors are from the original.
The tortoises in the Shucho have 4 kanji characters embroidered in each. Originally, there were 100 tortoises, or 400 kanji characters. "Jogu Shotoku Houou Teisetsu" records the full text which tells that when Prince Shotoku died in 622 (Suiko 30), the prince's wife Tachibana no Ooiratsume asked permission of Empress Suiko and ordered the maids in the imperial court to embroider the scenes of Tenjukoku, or heavenly land, where the prince was believed to have gone after his death.
It is said that the rough sketches were drawn by a descendant of immigrants who introduced Chinese and Korean culture to Japan. The outlines of the motifs in strongly twisted thread and the elaborate stitches inside the outlines very well represent the characteristics of Asuka period embroidery.