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Treasures of the Imperial Collections - Splendor of Japanese Art

Treasures of the Imperial Collections - Splendor of Japanese Art
Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries   October 6, 2009 (Tue) - November 29, 2009 (Sun)

  
Rosewood Chinese Lute with Mother-of-Pearl Inlay, Nara period, 8th century Shosoin Treasures (On exhibit from November 12 to November 29, 2009)

>> detailed information
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Emperor's enthronement, the Tokyo National Museum will hold a special exhibition uniting a rich spectrum of works from the imperial collections. The exhibition will be held in two parts, and will include objects owned by the imperial household as well as treasures from the Shosoin Repository and Sannomaru Shozokan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections).

Part 1 Tuesday, October 6 - Tuesday, November 3, 2009.
Part 2 Thursday, November 12 - November 29,2009.

 Related Exhibition
- Part 1: Special Feature: The Legacy of Yamato-e Screen Painting  October 6 - November 3, 2009
- Part 2: Special Feature: Preserving Traditional Techniques for Posterity-Restoration and Recreation of the Shosoin Treasures November 12 - November 29, 2009

 General Information
Period Part 1: Tuesday, October 6 - Tuesday, November 3, 2009 (National holiday)
Part 2: Thursday, November 12 - Sunday, November 29, 2009
* The exhibition will be closed for exhibition preparation from Wednesday, November 4 to Wednesday, November 11, 2009.
* The exhibition will be held in spans of two periods, each consisting of entirely different selections of works.
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 Tuesday, October 13; Monday, October 19; Monday, October 26
Open every day during the exhibition period of Part 2
Admissions Adults: 1,300 (1,100/1,000) yen
Set of tickets (admission to Parts 1 and 2): 2,200 (advance 2,000)
University students: 1,000 (800/700) yen
High school students: 700 (500/400) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free
* All persons are admitted free on Thursday, November 12, 2009 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Emperor's enthronement. Please note that the number of admissions to the galleries may be limited when overcrowded.
* 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:688-791 except for set tickets: 688-792), Lawson Ticket (L-code:37324), E-Plus, CN Playguide and other major playguides until the following dates respectively: Monday, October 5, 2009.
* Set tickets provide one-time admission for one person to both Parts 1 and 2. Student / group discounts are not available. Advance set tickets are on sale Tuesday, August 4 - Monday, October 5, 2009; regular-price set tickets are on sale Tuesday, October 6 - Tuesday, November 3, 2009.
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, Imperial Household Agency, NHK
With the Special Cooperation of NHK Promotions, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nikkei Inc.
General Inquiries 03-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Official Website http://www.bihana.jp/
The website has closed with the end of the exhibition.
 Related events (In Japanese)
Commemorative lecture (application required)
  1. Saturday, October 10, 2009, 13:30 - 15:00, Heiseikan, Auditorium 
Title: "The Imperial Collections in the Heisei Period: A Focus on Conservation"
Lecture by: Ohta Aya (Curator, The Museum of the Imperial Collections, Sannomaru Shozokan)

 
  2. Sunday, November 15, 2009, 13:30 - 15:00, Heiseikan, Auditorium 
Title: "Treasures from the Shosoin Repository: Historical Value"
Lecture by: Sugimoto Kazuki (Director, Office of The Shosoin Treasure House, Imperial Household Agency)

 

 Related Exhibition
Special Feature: The Legacy of Yamato-e Screen Painting
Thematic Exhibition Room
Tuesday, October 6 - Tuesday (holiday), November 3, 2009

The Daijosai is a major festival that is held once per imperial era following the enthronement of a new emperor.
Two yamato-e screens are traditionally created for the festival; one from Yuki province, from Kyoto to the east side of Japan, and one from Suki province, from Kyoto to the west side of Japan.
This thematic exhibition focuses on yamato-e screens created in Akita prefecture and Oita prefecture for the Heisei-era Daijosai.

Exhibit includes:
Screens of Poetry and Genre Scenes from Yuki and Suki Provinces for Daijosai (Festival Following the Enthronement of a New Emperor), By Higashiyama Kaii and Takayama Tatsuo, 1990, Supply Division of the Grand Steward's Secretariat, Imperial Household Agency

Special Feature: Preserving Traditional Techniques for Posterity-Restoration and Recreation of the Shosoin Treasures
Thematic Exhibition Room
Thursday, November 12 - Sunday, November 29, 2009

This thematic exhibition focuses on the preservation of cultural properties in the Imperial collection. Reproduction of the Shosoin Treasures began at the beginning of the Meiji period, led by the Imperial Household. Imitations of luxurious Shosoin treasures will be showcased together with materials related to their preservation.

Exhibit includes:
Five-Stringed Rosewood Biwa Lute with Mother-of-Pearl Inlay (Reproduction), 1899 (Original:Nara period, 8th century)
 Highlight of the Exhibition
Part 1: From Eitoku and Jakuchu to Taikan and Shoen: Paintings from the Pre-Modern and Modern Eras
Tuesday, October 6 - Tuesday, November 3, 2009 (National holiday)

Part 1 of the exhibition will showcase masterworks of painting from pre-modern to modern times, highlights of which include Kano Eitoku's Chinese Lions and the entire 30 hanging scrolls of Ito Jakuchu's representative work, The Colorful Realm of Living Beings. Part 1 will also focus on the former imperial artist system, established during the Meiji period to sponsor and promote decorative and fine arts, by introducing works by Artists to the Imperial Household. These will include the modernist paintings of Yokoyama Taikan and Uemura Shoen, and the decorative arts of Unno Shomin and Kawanobe Itcho.
 
The Colorful Realm of Living Beings   The Colorful Realm of Living Beings
By Ito Jakuchu
Edo period,mid-18th century
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)


This is one of the representative works of Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800), a painter who was active in Kyoto during the mid-Edo period and whose works have attracted much attention in recent years. A veritable monument to the artist's career, this grand-scale work is comprised of 30 individual hanging scrolls which were originally produced as Buddhist paintings to be hung behind a Shaka (Sakyamuni) triad.
Chinese Lions   Chinese Lions
By Kano Eitoku
Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)


This is one of the few paintings which can be identified reliably as a work by Kano Eitoku, the renowned master of Momoyama-period painting. With its powerful brushwork representing the magnificence of the time, this is one of the best known works of Japanese painting.
Bugaku Dancer as the Warrrior Ranryo-o, Prince of Lanling   Bugaku Dancer as the Warrrior Ranryo-o, Prince of Lanling
By Unno Shomin
Dated 1890
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)


This figure is a representative work of Unno Shomin (1844-1915), the leading metal artist of the Meiji period. This realistic work, produced using highly sophisticated metalworking techniques, depicts the dance traditionally performed alongside the gagaku (classical court music) piece, Ranryo-o.
Sacred Peak (Mount Fuji) and Foothills in the Morning Sun
Sacred Peak (Mount Fuji) and Foothills in the Morning Sun
By Yokoyama Taikan
Dated 1927
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)


One of the representative works of Yokoyama Taikan, this painting was commissioned in 1926 and installed in the Homei Room of the Palace of Emperor Meiji upon its completion in 1927. Among the many paintings of Mount Fuji by Taikan, this is considered one of his earliest masterworks, and is unique among his paintings in its extraordinary sense of volume and splendor.
Snow, Moon and Flowers   Snow, Moon and Flowers
By Uemura Shoen
Dated 1937
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)
Keyword : Artists to the Imperial Household
The system of appointing artists to the imperial household was established in Japan in October 1890 to preserve and promote the fine arts, increase the technical sophistication of artworks, and to ensure the transmission of techniques to the next generation. The system was originally created to provide support to artists who had lost the patronage of shogun and daimyo as a result of the Meiji Restoration; at the same time, however, the foregrounding of unique cultural traditions which the system afforded was seen as key to positioning Japan as an internationally recognizable entity, in the manner of European nations.
The system continued until 1944, and throughout its duration saw the appointment of a total of 79 Artists to the Imperial Household who specialized in a wide variety of genres, including nihonga and Western-style painting, decorative arts, architecture and photography.


Part 2: Shosoin Treasures and Masterworks of the Calligraphy and Handscroll Genres
Thursday, November 12 - Sunday, November 29, 2009

Part 2 of the exhibition will feature works dating from classical times, centering around a rare appearance in Tokyo of treasures from the Shosoin Repository, as well as dedicated treasures from Horyuji temple and archaeological artifacts. Also scheduled for display are numerous works from calligraphy masters such as Wang Xizhi, Ono no Tofu, Fujiwara no Kozei and Fujiwara no Teika, together with elaborate picture scrolls including Illustrated Account of the Mongol Invasion and Miracles of the Kasuga Shrine. Additional highlights will include calligraphic works by past emperors, a selection of folding screen paintings from the exquisite world of Kyoto Imperial Palace, and a selection of renowned Japanese swords.
 
Rosewood Chinese Lute with Mother-of-Pearl Inlay   Rosewood Chinese Lute with Mother-of-Pearl Inlay 
From the North Storehouse Section 30
Nara period, 8th century
The Shosoin Treasures


Known in Japanese as a genkan, this is a four-stringed musical instrument with a long neck and a round body. It is named after one of the legendary Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove from Western Jin-dynasty China, who is said to have used the instrument as his favorite. Detailed inlay decorates the entire surface and is especially notable on the back, where a pair of parakeets are depicted holding long decorative chains in their beaks. The white mother-of-pearl and the red color under the amber inlay produce a brilliant contrast in this work. Since it is recorded in the Kokka Chinpo Cho (List of the Nation's Rare Treasures) , there is a high possibility that the instrument was favored by Emperor Shomu.
Mirror with Design of Four Buildings   Mirror with Design of Four Buildings
From Samita Takarazuka Kofun tomb site, Kawaicho, Kita-Katsuragi County, Nara Prefecture
Kofun period, 4th century
Archives and Mausolea Department, Imperial Household Agency
Lacquer Ewer   Lacquer Ewer
From the North Storehouse Section 43
Nara period, 8th century
The Shosoin Treasures


This work is a Persian-style water pitcher with a lid and spout shaped after a bird's head. The body is shaped from thin rectangular boards. The surface is coated with black lacquer adorned with designs of deer, sheep, birds, flowers, butterflies, and flowers cut from thin sheets of silver. The Kokka Chinpou Cho (List of the Country's Rare Treasures) states that in 756, Empress Komyo dedicated this pitcher among other works on the occasion of Emperor Shomu's memorial, on the 49th day after his death. This is a representative work of the lacquerware held among the Shosoin Treasures.
Keyword : Shosoin Treasures
In ancient times, repositories for storing the valuables of temples and government offices were called shoso, and the premises within the fences surrounding the shoso was known as shosoin. Major temples such as Horyuji and Kofukuji once had this facility, but the only one surviving at present is at Todaiji temple, Nara, the buildings and the stored objects of which are now under the custody of the Imperial Household Agency. The Shosoin Repository is divided into three parts: the Northern Storehouse, Central Storehouse, and Southern Storehouse. The Northern Storehouse mainly keeps objects devoted to and personally favored by Emperor Shomu (reign 724-749), and the remaining storehouses contain objects used on the occasion of the eye-opening ceremony of the Great Buddha of Todaiji in 745.
Illustrated Account of the Mongol Invasion   Illustrated Account of the Mongol Invasion (Detail)
Kamakura period, 13th century
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)
Miracles of the Kasuga Shrine
Miracles of the Kasuga Shrine (Detail)
By Takashina Takakane
Kamakura period, dated 1309 (Enkyo 2)
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)


This handscroll masterpiece produced in the Kamakura period had significant influence on later paintings. Commissioned by the courtier Saionji Kinhira, the work was painted by Takashina Takakane, who was appointed to the imperial court at that time, and dedicated to Kasuga Shrine in Nara. Later, during the Meiji period (1868-1912), the work was presented to the imperial household where it has been preserved ever since.
Gyokusenjo   Gyokusenjo (Album of the Jeweled Spring: Selected Poems by Bo Juyi) (Detail)
Calligraphy by Ono no Tofu
Heian period, 10th century
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)
Poems from the Anthology Wakan Roeishu (Collection of Chinese and Japanese Verses), Detcho Version   Poems from the Anthology Wakan Roeishu (Collection of Chinese and Japanese Verses), Detcho Version
Calligraphy attributed to Fujiwara no Kozei
Heian period, 11th century
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)


Among the many versions of Wakan Roeishu, this work is most renowned for the outstanding beauty of its calligraphy and decorated paper.
Scenes from The Tale of Genji   Scenes from The Tale of Genji (Detail)
by Kano Tan'yu
Edo period, dated 1642 (kan'ei 19)
Sannomaru Shozokan
(The Museum of the Imperial Collections)