Anniversary Projects

A History of Buddhist Sculpture in Japan: Sacred Works from the Museum Collection

May 17, 2022 (Tue) - July 10, 2022 (Sun)

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 14

In the 6th century, ritual tools, sacred texts, and sculptures of deities were introduced to Japan together with Buddhism. Soon after, people in Japan also began making these sculptures, which portray deities with golden halos and other sacred traits. The techniques and artistic styles of these sculptures, however, transformed over time, reflecting the changing tastes and beliefs of the people who made them.

Tokyo National Museum, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary, is home to a wide variety of Buddhist sculptures, some part of the Museum’ s permanent collection and others on long-term loan. This exhibition presents a brief history of Japan' s Buddhist sculpture through works embodying the trends of their respective times.

Major Works in this Exhibition

Queen Maya and Heavenly Beings, Collection of Hōryūji Treasures, Asuka period, 7th century
(Important Cultural Property)

The Bodhisattva Nikkō, Previously owned by Kinrinji Temple and Kōsanji Temple, Kyoto, Nara period, 8th century
(Important Cultural Property)

Buddha, By EnkūPreviously owned by Kōshōji Temple, Gunma, Edo period, 17th century(Gift of Mr. Tokita Chikara)