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Journey through Asia at the Tokyo National Museum: Asia in Love

 

This year’s theme for Journey through Asia at the Tokyo National Museum is love.
博物館でアジアの旅

This year’s theme for Journey through Asia at the Tokyo National Museum is love.

Love is our most fundamental emotion and describes a wide range of mental states and practices. From the connections between love and sex, to love and desire, the expression of love is diverse.

For this thematic exhibition, we have selected ancient works from the Mediterranean to East Asia that reveal to us how people there perceived love. While this exhibition may not include everything there is to be said about love, we hope that it will at least offer a glimpse into its diverse representations in these areas.
 

博物館でアジアの旅

 

Major Works in this Exhibition

Small Romantic Items Small Romantic Items

Ornamental Pin
Iran or Iraq, Parthian period, 2nd–3rd century

Could they be husband and wife? The appearance of this intimate couple eating and drinking is impressive. The scene possibly depicts a funerary banquet.

July 2, 2019–September 8, 2019
Toyokan Room 3, Artifacts from West Asia and Egypt

 

This couple of mandarin ducks on a Tang-dynasty (618–907) pillow is cute. This couple of mandarin ducks on a Tang-dynasty (618–907) pillow is cute.

Pillow, Three-color glaze with stamped mandarin duck design
China, Tang dynasty, 8th century (Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)

Mandarin ducks symbolized harmonious marital relations in China. The combination with lotuses, which represented fertility, make this a very auspicious composition.

July 17, 2019–October 20, 2019
Toyokan Room 5, Burials in China

Melodies of Love Melodies of Love

Playing the Flute in Springtime on the Water
By Zhu Xin, China, Qing dynasty, dated 1783 (Gift of Dr. Hayashi Munetake)

This fan painting captures the Southern Song-dynasty (1127–1279) poet Jiang Kui playing flute, and his beloved Lady Xiao Hong listening to his melodies on a clear spring day.

*From September 18, 2019

September 18, 2019–October 27, 2019
Toyokan Room 8, Chinese Painting: Paintings of Scholars and Beautiful Women

 

Boxes with Hidden Meanings Boxes with Hidden Meanings

Box in the Shape of Waterfowl
China, Qing dynasty, 19th century

This box depicts a family of frolicking waterfowls. Male and female birds combined with lotuses symbolize fertility. Since lotus sounds the same as love in Chinese, lotuses also stand for love.

August 6, 2019–October 27, 2019
Toyokan Room 9, Decorative Art of the Qing Dynasty

Auspicious Objects Made with Love Auspicious Objects Made with Love

Folding Screen with Birds and Flowers
Korea, Joseon dynasty, 19th century (Gift of the Ogura Foundation)

This auspicious screen with pairs of birds and plants is not painted but embroidered. It adorned the room of a newly married woman.

August 20, 2019–November 10, 2019
Toyokan Room 10, Art of the Joseon Dynasty

 

Taking Aim at the Rooster Taking Aim at the Rooster

Nayaka Aiming a Bow and Arrow with Nayika on His Lap
India, By the Bikaner school, India, Early 18th century

In this painting, the man is taking aim at a rooster not shown in the painting, but familiar to viewers from a poem. The poem tells that if the rooster does not crow, the sun won’t rise. This way, the lovers can stay together forever.

*Indian miniature paintings depict love in many settings.Paintings in this exhibition contain sexual content that may not be suitable for all audiences.

September 10, 2019–October 20, 2019
Toyokan Room 13, Indian Miniature Paintings

Brave Men and Beautiful Women Brave Men and Beautiful Women

Wayang Kulit: Raden Arjuna
Central Java, Indonesia, 20th century (Gift of Mr. Matsumoto Ryo)

Wayang Kulit: Dewi Banowati
Central Java, Indonesia, 20th–21st century (Gift of Mr. Matsumoto Ryo)

Wayang Kulit is traditional shadow-puppet theater from Indonesia. The beautiful woman Banowati admires the handsome Arjuna, but becomes the wife of his archenemy. Arjuna and his enemy then become allies on the battlefield…

July 23, 2019–October 20, 2019
Toyokan Room 13, Wayang Kulit: Indonesian Shadow-Puppet Theater

 

Everlasting Love Everlasting Love

Box with Birds and Flowers
China, Ming dynasty, 15th century

This box is decorated with two white-headed birds in mother-of-pearl inlay. Since, the white head of the birds allude to an elder couple, the motif symbolizes everlasting love.

August 6, 2019–October 27, 2019
Toyokan Room 9, Chinese Lacquerware

 

Related Events

 

Special Tours: Journey through Indonesia with TNM Curators (Japanese only)

Each day there will be a 70-minute tour of the Toyokan (Asian Gallery) led by three curators.

Meeting place: Toyokan entrance hall

*Participants will walk through the Toyokan galleries. Please join wearing comfortable shoes.

September 10, 2019 (Tue) 14:00 - 15:10: Love in Asian Crafts
October 8, 2019 (Tue) 14:00 - 15:10: Love in Asian Painting

 

Representations of Love in Asian Art (Japanese only)

Venue: Heiseikan-Auditorium
Lecture by: Katsuki Gen'ichiro, Curator of Asian Art
Limited to: 380 seats (first-come first-served)

 

Wayang Kulit: Shadow Puppet Theater from Java (in Japanese)

Traditional Indonesian Puppet Theater

Performance by: Sumilir
Venue: Hyokeikan
Seating Capacity: 100

*Pre-application is closed.

Wayang Kulit: Shadow Puppet Theater from Java (in Japanese) Wayang Kulit: Shadow Puppet Theater from Java (in Japanese)

September 20, 2019 (Fri)
(1) 13:00 - 14:00
(2) 16:00 - 17:00

September 21, 2019 (Sat)
(1) 13:00 - 14:00
(2) 16:00 - 17:00

 

Easy Seated Yoga in Toyokan (Japanese only)

This year we are also doing our very popular yoga classes! Join us in practicing yoga in front of real artworks!

Instructor: Miho Watanabe
Capacity: 20

Relaxing yoga on a mat in the Hyokeikan

September 27, 2019 (Fri)
(1) 11:00 - 11:30
(2) 13:30 - 14:00
(3) 15:00 - 15:30

Venue: Hyokeikan

*Pre-application is closed.

 

Laid-back yoga on a chair in the Toyokan

October 4, 2019 (Fri)
(1) 11:00 - 11:30
(2) 13:30 - 14:00
(3) 15:00 - 15:30

Venue: Room 1, Toyokan

*Pre-application is closed.

 

 

 

Catalogue

Journey through Asia at the Tokyo National Museum: Asia in Love

 

Journey through Asia at the Tokyo National Museum: Asia in Love

Price: 500 yen (Tax excluded)
24p (All color)

*On sale in the museum shop

 

Infomation

Date
September 10, 2019 (Tue) - October 14, 2019 (Mon)  
Venue
Toyokan


Related Exhibition

  1. Wayang Kulit: Indonesian Shadow-Puppet Theater
  2. Toyokan-Room 13
    July 23, 2019 (Tue) - October 20, 2019 (Sun)

  3. Indian Miniature Paintings
  4. Toyokan-Room 13
    September 10, 2019 (Tue) - October 20, 2019 (Sun)


Related Events

  1. The Representation of Love in Asian Art
  2. Heiseikan-Auditorium
    September 28, 2019 (Sat) 13:30 - 15:00