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Heiseikan

The Heiseikan, built to commemorate the crown prince's wedding in 1993, serves primarily as the space for special exhibitions. For this purpose there are four special exhibition galleries on the second floor, as well as the Japanese Archaeological Gallery.

Floor Map


1st floor: Japanese Archaeology (Woman in full dress Haniwa)

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 18, 2019 (Tue) - July 12, 2020 (Sun)

Terracotta statues known as haniwa were placed on large burial mounds that were created in great numbers during the Kofun period (ca. 3rd century–ca. 7th century). Most haniwa of women show them from the waist up, making this full-length depiction unusual. This woman appears to be wearing a sleeveless garment with wave-like patterns over a plain, long-sleeved one. Her legs are hidden by a skirt decorated with vertical lines. Women of the preceding Yayoi period (ca. 5th century BC–ca. 3rd century AD) wore clothes similar to one-piece dresses. In the Kofun period, however, garments separated into top and bottom sections as seen here were introduced from China and Korea.

Her outfit is also more elaborate than it first appears: Her hair is made up in a topknot unique to women of the time and is held in place with a comb. She also wears a headband and two large earrings with a cluster of beads above each one, as well as a beaded necklace and bracelets. A knife or something similar is at her hip. Judging from the lavish attire, this haniwa probably depicts a woman of a high social standing who is participating in some kind of elaborate ceremony such as a funerary procession or rite.

1st floor: Japanese Archaeology (Chronological Exhibition)

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

People first settled in Japan about 40,000 years ago, marking the beginning of the Paleolithic era, which continued until pottery was first created approximately 13,000 years ago. This era coincided with an ice age during which Japan was still connected to the Asian continent via land bridges and inhabited by large mammals such as mammoths. People led nomadic lives and made tools from stone and animal bone, using them to hunt and forage.

This section explores how Paleolithic tools changed over time through common examples: trapezoids with cutting edges, knives, spearheads, and miniature blades for making composite tools such as harpoons. Generally, Paleolithic tools were made by chipping stone into the desired shapes, while polished stone tools first appeared in the following Neolithic era. Japan’s Paleolithic era, however, is characterized by the use of stone axe heads with partially-polished blades.

The most common material for tools was obsidian, a type of volcanic glass found in abundance across most of Japan. The sedimentary rock siliceous shale was used in northeastern Japan, where obsidian was scarce, while the volcanic rock sanukite was used in the Kinki region and around the Seto Inland Sea. All of these materials were suitable for making tools because they were relatively hard and fine-grained, allowing sharp edges to be formed by chipping.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

Rising sea levels formed the Japanese islands when the ice age ended about 13,000 years ago. In response to their changing environment, people began using the bow and arrow for hunting, invented pottery, and began living in permanent settlements. This was the beginning of Japan’s Neolithic era, which lasted for approximately 10,000 years. Although farming and the rearing of livestock usually began during this era in other societies, life in Japan continued to be centered on foraging, fishing, and hunting.

Pottery from this era was decorated with patterns made by impressing cords into the clay before firing, and is named Jomon (cord-marked) pottery. Japan’s Neolithic era is called the Jomon period in reference to this distinctive pottery. The invention of pottery for cooking extended the range of edible foods, made certain foods more digestible, and helped to eliminate harmful bacteria. Jomon pottery was also used for ceremonies and burial rites, playing an important role in culture and society.

This section shows how pottery changed and increased in variety during the Jomon period. Deep bowls for cooking were the earliest vessels, with shallow bowls for serving food appearing later, followed by pots and spouted vessel for storage.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

Around the end of the Yayoi period in the first half of the 3rd century, large burial mounds with regionally-distinct shapes began to appear in various areas from Kanto to Kyushu. Villages in Japan were changing to states, with some gaining the power to unify others. A Chinese historical document even noted that in 239 and 240, Queen Himiko, the ruler of Japan’s Yamatai Kingdom, sent envoys to the Wei dynasty.

During the latter half of the 3rd century, keyhole-shaped burial mounds of unprecedented size and construction began to appear in the Kinai region, with the largest concentration in the Nara basin. Objects symbolizing political authority, such as bronze mirrors and ornaments, accompanied those buried inside. These developments show that politics in Japan had matured under the new Yamato Kingdom, which was even more powerful than Yamatai. These burial mounds were constructed on a wide scale until the 7th century, giving this era the name Kofun (ancient burial mound) period.

The pottery of the Kofun period was haji earthenware. Unlike earlier Yayoi pottery, it was uniform in design and did not feature regionally-distinct decorative patterns. This section explores the beginning of the Kofun period through haji pottery and bronze mirrors that were brought from China and placed in burial mounds.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - May 31, 2020 (Sun)

Around the end of the Yayoi period in the first half of the 3rd century, large burial mounds with regionally-distinct shapes began to appear in various areas from Kanto to Kyushu. Villages in Japan were changing to states, with some gaining the power to unify others. A Chinese historical document even noted that in 239 and 240, Queen Himiko, the ruler of Japan’s Yamatai Kingdom, sent envoys to the Wei dynasty.

During the latter half of the 3rd century, keyhole-shaped burial mounds of unprecedented size and construction began to appear in the Kinai region, with the largest concentration in the Nara basin. Objects symbolizing political authority, such as bronze mirrors and ornaments, accompanied those buried inside. These developments show that politics in Japan had matured under the new Yamato Kingdom, which was even more powerful than Yamatai. These burial mounds were constructed on a wide scale until the 7th century, giving this era the name Kofun (ancient burial mound) period.

The pottery of the Kofun period was haji earthenware. Unlike earlier Yayoi pottery, it was uniform in design and did not feature regionally-distinct decorative patterns. This section explores the beginning of the Kofun period through haji pottery and bronze mirrors that were brought from China and placed in burial mounds.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - May 31, 2020 (Sun)

From the 4th century, Chinese-style bronze mirrors were created in Japan and placed in burial mounds. These large mirrors were finely-crafted with unique designs, and, as this burial practice suggests, held special meaning in the Yamato Kingdom. Jasper, bronze, and stone copies of various ornaments were also buried in these mounds. They included distinctive hoe-shaped stone objects modeled after shell bracelets that were valued in the preceding Yayoi period. The Yamato government began creating such objects to show its political and religious authority. Moreover, certain objects, such as those made of jasper, were created with the aid of provincial clans.

Use of these objects and the construction of burial mounds for high-ranking rulers (these mounds featured stone chambers that were sealed from the top) spread from the Yamato Kingdom to the west. It is believed that provincial clans used these objects as evidence of their alliance with Yamato and as symbols of their own prestige.

The establishment and expansion of the Yamato Kingdom was also related to political developments in other East Asian countries. In China, the fall of the Western Jin dynasty ushered in the Sixteen Kingdoms period (316–420), while the three kingdoms of Korea – Goguryeo, Baekje, andSilla– began to annex neighboring regions.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - May 31, 2020 (Sun)

Around the end of the 4th century, large keyhole-shaped burial mounds began to appear around the Osaka plain and Nara basin. Royal authority was expressed through burial practices, with grand arrangements of haniwa tomb figurines displayed on these mounds. Central to these arrangements were house-shaped haniwa as well as those representing tools, weapons, and other objects. Moreover, the number of small- and medium-sized burial mounds containing metal weapons and armor began to increase, suggesting that connections between the Yamato Kingdom and provincial clans became more militaristic, and that these connections began to extend to lesser clans as well. Metal production also increased significantly as shown by the large amount of ingots placed in burial mounds.

Chinese records state that from 421, the Five Kings of Wa (Japan) regularly offered tribute to the Southern Dynasties and requested that their military titles in Japan and Korea be recognized in China.  The mass-production of metal weapons and armor further suggests the inclusion of Yamato in an international order centered on China.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - May 31, 2020 (Sun)

Local production of weapons, armor, and horse tack, which had originally been brought from Korea, began around the end of the 5th century. While gold and silver were often used in Korea, production in Japan was characterized by the extensive use of gilded bronze plates. From around the mid-6th century, unique metal objects such as large ornamental swords were also created. It is believed that these objects were distributed to provincial clans as proof of the Yamato Kingdom’s authority and as signs of an alliance.

The construction of burial mounds with entrances, which allowed family members who passed away at different times to be buried together, spread rapidly across much of Japan. Moreover, groups of smaller burial mounds increased in number, reflecting an expansion of the class with the means to construct such mounds. New burial rites were developed in which sue stoneware was used and haniwa tomb figurines portraying humans and animals were placed atop burial mounds.

Meanwhile, the Yamato Kingdom began to establish a closer relationship with the Baekje Kingdom of Korea, from which it received new culture and Buddhism. However, Japan lost its foothold in Korea when another ally, the Gaya Confederacy, was defeated by Silla in 562. These events may have influenced the development of metalwork objects into unique Japanese forms.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - May 31, 2020 (Sun)

At the end of the 6th century, significant changes accompanied the shift from the Kofun to the Asuka (593–710) period. Rulers constructed round or rectangular burial mounds, which replaced the older keyhole-shaped variety. In the mid-7th century, octagonal burial mounds were created for the Kings of Yamato, the most powerful rulers in Japan. Moreover, small burial mounds for individuals, which consisted of a stone chamber with an entrance, were built in the Kinai region. These developments reflect significant changes in burial practices.

These “late burial mounds” featured the latest technology imported from the Asian continent. Earth was tightly packed to strengthen construction, cut stones were stacked to create walls, and lacquered coffins were used. Some of these mounds, foremost of which are Takamatsu and Kitora, had burial chambers with painted murals that reflected imported beliefs.

Buddhism, which was introduced to Japan in the mid-6th century, spread among powerful clans while temples such as Asukadera and Horyuji were constructed in Nara. Meanwhile, China was unified under the Sui in 581 and the Tang in 618. Japanese envoys dispatched to China brought the latest culture to Japan. In Korea, the kingdom of Baekje fell in 660 to the combined armies of Tang and Silla despite Japanese aid. The creation of a unified state continued in Japan during this time of international tension.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

In 701, a system of law and administration (ritsuryo) modeled after Tang China was established in Japan under the emperor. A new imperial capital was founded at Nara in 710, with the following 74 years known as the Nara period. During this period, large-scale projects such as the construction of national roads and government-administered Buddhist temples were undertaken. Such events were preceded by the dispatch of envoys to China from the 7th century. These envoys brought the latest institutions, religions, technology, and cultural objects to Japan, contributing greatly to the political and cultural reforms that followed.

Buddhism in particular affected Japan. One Buddhist tradition that spread through society, beginning with the emperor and powerful aristocrats, was cremation. This section displays vessels for cremated remains, items buried with the deceased, and epitaphs noting individuals’ achievements.

Roof tiles, which were introduced to Japan at the end of the 6th century, were initially used for Buddhist temples. After an earlier imperial capital was established in 694, their use was extended to the imperial palace and government buildings. When Emperor Shomu ordered the construction of government-administered temples across Japan in 741, the production of roof tiles gained momentum in the provinces. This section also exhibits distinctive tiles from various regions, ranging from Tohoku in the north to Kyushu in the south.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

From the late Nara (710–794) to the Heian (794–1192) period, priests who worshipped in the mountains began to appear throughout Japan. Believing that Shinto and Buddhism are essentially the same faith, and that Shinto gods are in fact Buddhist deities, they climbed mountains in search of sacred sites where they could worship the mountain gods. Sites on the peaks of Mt. Omine in Nara prefecture and Mt. Nantai in Tochigi prefecture are well-known examples, with excavations revealing various objects that these priests had left as offerings. This form of mountain worship eventually developed into Shugendo, a folk religion unique to Japan.

In the mid-Heian period, the belief in Buddhism’s decline also permeated society. The age of decline was thought to begin in the year 1052, leading people to associate reoccurring natural disasters and disturbances in society with this new age. In response, aristocrats and others living in the capital began creating sutra mounds throughout Japan. Aristocrats also believed in a prophecy that the Buddhist deity Maitreya would reappear 5,670,000,000 years in the future to save all beings. Transcribing sutra scrolls and preserving them in sutra mounds was most likely a way of praying for peace in this world and the next during these troubled times. This section features excavated objects connected with mountain worship and the belief in Buddhism’s decline.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

From the Kamakura period (1192–1333), political power shifted from the aristocracy to the warrior class. Society and culture began to reflect the tastes and lifestyles of these new rulers, while towns were built around their castle compounds throughout Japan.

New sects of Buddhism also gained popularity in the Kamakura period. One of these was the Zen sect, which was accepted into warrior society. Tea drinking, which spread through Zen, was valued by the warrior class for providing a means for social interaction. Meanwhile, tea utensils became highly valued as symbols of prestige among the warriors. Chinese ceramics became especially prized, and local kilns such as the ones in Seto (present-day Aichi prefecture) began producing ceramics in imitation of them. These ceramics were also created for storing the remains of deceased individuals.

Itabi were stone tablets resembling gravestones, which were created to pray for the repose of deceased individuals. Beginning in the mid-Kamakura period, they were created throughout Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Kagoshima in the south, although most of them were concentrated in the Kanto region around present-day Tokyo. Many of these tablets are similar in form and are thought to have deep connections with warriors of the Kanto region.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

Tokugawa Ieyasu became the shogun of Japan in 1603, establishing his government in Edo (present-day Tokyo). Edo then became the political and cultural center of Japan, with 70% of its land occupied by residences for feudal lords and members of the Tokugawa clan. In addition to these residences, temples, shrines, commoners’ homes, and post towns with accommodations for travelers were sectioned into different areas around Edo Castle, while the castle itself served as the shogun’s residence and place of business. Large fires occurred frequently in Edo because of the dense concentration of wooden buildings. After each fire, land was divided and reassigned, sometimes to create open spaces to prevent future fires from spreading. Land reclamation and other projects for coping with a rising population were also undertaken, with Edo developing into one of Asia’s largest cities.

The appearance of Edo has come to light in recent years through excavations. In particular, large-scale excavations have shown where the residences of feudal lords were located and how they were laid out. Moreover, unearthed objects have revealed the luxurious lifestyles these lords enjoyed, made possible in part by a monetary system based on gold, silver, and copper coinage, which led to the increased distribution of goods. In fact, goods from across Japan were brought to Edo for consumption. This section features excavated objects that vividly illustrate the lifestyles of Edo people.

1st floor Japanese Archaeology (Thematic Exhibitions)

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

The most prominent objects of prayer from the Jomon period (ca. 11,000 BC–ca. 5th century BC) are dogu clay figurines. Even the earliest examples of these figurines have breasts, which suggests that they represent women, and their protruding bellies probably symbolize pregnancy. Therefore, it is believed that dogu figurines were created to pray for easy delivery of children, the birth of many children, and fertility.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

From the Jomon period (ca. 11,000 BC–ca. 5th century BC) onward, means of obtaining food changed in accordance with changes in the natural environment resulting from a milder climate. The bow and arrow was invented, while tools such as fishhooks, fishing spears, and harpoon heads were created in quantity. Grinding slabs and grindstones as well as stone mortars and hammerstones were used to process nuts and other foods.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

Accessories in the Jomon period (ca. 11,000 BC–ca. 5th century BC) included hair ornaments, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and waist
ornaments. They had the additional function of indicating the age and sex of the wearer, as well as protecting him or her from evil spirits. Stone rods, which were male symbols, were made in prayer for fertility and the birth of many children.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

In the Yayoi period (ca. 5th century BC–3rd century AD), polished stone and metal tools were introduced from China and the Korean Peninsula along with wet rice cultivation. Stone tools included rice reapers for harvesting, a range of polished axes and adzes for making wooden agricultural tools, and polished arrowheads that could have been used as weapons. These tools were subsequently made with iron.

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

In the Yayoi period (ca. 5th century BC–3rd century AD), bronze bracelets and glass necklaces began to appear. Production techniques for glass objects were developed based on metal casting techniques. Stone tools that were modeled on metal weapons were also created. These objects were buried with the deceased and used in rituals.

Current exhibit includes:
Cylindrical Beads (Kudatama) and Small Beads, Found in Tsushima City, Nagasaki, Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century
Bronze Bracelet, Excavated at Nishiyama Park, Nishiyama-cho, Sabae-shi, Fukui, Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century
Horse Bell, Excavated at Saho, Toyotama-machi, Tsushima-shi, Nagasaki, Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century
Polished Stone Halberd, Excavated at Matsugasako, Nakaitoda, Itoda-machi, Fukuoka, Yayoi period, 2nd century BC–3rd century AD (Gift of Mr. Nishimura Shinjiro and another)
Polished Stone Dagger, Found in Tagawa City, Fukuoka, Yayoi period, 4th–3rd century BC

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

This section features ritual objects from the Yayoi period (ca. 5th century BC–ca. 3rd century AD), with a focus on bronze spears, swords, halberds, and bell-shaped dotaku. Early in this period, the first bronze and iron implements were brought to Kyushu in southwestern Japan from Korea. Among these were bronze weapons such as swords, spears, and halberds. Soon these objects were being created locally and they became larger and flatter, showing a shift to ritual use.
Most bell-shaped dotaku have been excavated from the Kinki region. Although they may have originated from similar bells made in China and Korea, they were created in larger sizes and with unique surface decorations. Initially, they were approximately 20 cm in height but their size increased over time as they changed into ornamental objects no longer used to produce sound. Experts believe that these ritual bells were used to pray for bountiful harvests and the prosperity of settlements.

Current exhibit includes:
Bronze Bell (Dōtaku), Reportedly found in Okayama City, Okayama, Yayoi period, 2nd–1st century BC (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)
Bronze Sword with "Insect Antenna" Pommel, Excavated at Kawazu, Kashiwazaki, Karatsu-shi, Saga, Yayoi period, 2nd–1st century BC
Bronze Halberd, Narrow blade type, Excavated at Yasu Nagata, Yubi-machi, Tosu-shi, Saga, Yayoi period, 2nd–1st century BC (Gift of Mr. Moji Tsuneo)
Mold of Bronze Halberd, Excavated at Ichiinoki, Kami Izumi, Kuboizumi-machi, Saga-shi, Saga, Yayoi period, 2nd–1st century BC (Important Cultural Property)
Dotaku (Bell-shaped bronze), Excavated at Oiwayama, Koshinohara, Yasu-shi, Shiga, Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century (Important Cultural Property)

  
The Post-Jomon Culture in Hokkaido
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 6, 2020 (Sun)

A variety of stone tools were used during this period, including single- and double-edged polished stone axes, as well as stone knives and harpoon heads for hunting and butchering sea mammals and other animals. There are also unique fish-shaped stones that were probably used as bait for fishing. Pottery continued to feature rich decorations. Additionally, cylindrical jewelry made out of jasper from Sado island, objects made out of seashells from Japan’s southern seas, and iron tools have also been excavated. These objects suggest interaction with the Yayoi culture on the mainland as well as cultures on the Asian continent via the island of Sakhalin to the north.

Current exhibit includes:
Spade, Whale bone, Excavated at Etomo-cho, Muroran-shi, Hokkaido, Epi-Jomon period, 2nd–1st century BC
Fish-shaped Stone Object, Provenance unknown, Epi-Jomon period, 2nd–1st century BC (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)
Pendant, Fur-seal fang, Excavated at Yukawa Shell Mound, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido, Epi-Jomon period, 2nd century BC–3rd century AD (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)

  
The Development of Sue pottery
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - June 28, 2020 (Sun)

This technique originated in China’s gray pottery and was later introduced from Korea to Japan, where local production began in the 5th century.
At the Suemura site in present-day Osaka in particular, many kilns were in operation until the Heian period (794–1192). From the late 5th century, sue ware kilns were built in various regions of Japan, and the pottery they produced was also placed in burial mounds with the deceased. Even after the Nara and Heian periods, sue ware was used at temples and government offices. The techniques for making it were later used to create new types of pottery.

Including:
Short-necked Jar with Handles, Excavated at Daishogun'yama Tumulus, Tsushima-shi, Nagasaki, Kofun period, 4th–5th century
Horn-shaped Vessel, Excavated at Shishizuka Tumulus, Mihama-cho, Fukui, Kofun period, 6th century
Footed Jar with Smaller Vessels, Excavated at Kaihozuka Tumulus, Ibaraki-shi, Osaka, Kofun period, 6th century (Gift of Mr. Kitaura Tomoshichi)
Inkstone, Excavated at Miyahara No. 1 Tumulus, Numazu-shi, Shizuoka, Kofun period, 7th century

  
Ancient Chinese Mirrors from Japanese Kofun Burial Mounds
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - June 28, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Mirror, Deity and imaginary creature design, From Izumikoganezuka Tumulus, Izumi-shi, Osaka, Kofun period, 4th century (Chinese-made: 3rd century) (Important Cultural Property)
Mirror, Human figure design, Passed down at Suda Hachiman Jinja, Hashimoto-shi, Wakayama, Kofun period, 5th–6th century (National Treasure)

  
Development of the Production of Beads and Jade Objects
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - June 28, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Comma-shaped Bead (Magatama), Jasper, Excavated at Izumi Koganezuka Tumulus, Izumi-shi, Osaka, Kofun period, 4th - 5th century (Important Cultural Property)
Cylindrical Beads (Kudatama), Jasper, Excavated at Funakiyama No. 24 Tumulus, Motosu-shi, Gifu, Kofun period, 4th-5th century
Irregularly-shaped Cylindrical Beads (Kudatama), Jasper, Excavated at Izumi Koganezuka Tumulus, Izumi-shi, Osaka, Kofun period, 4th–5th century (Important Cultural Property)
Faceted Bead, Crystal, Excavated at Izumi Koganezuka Tumulus, Izumi-shi, Osaka, Kofun period, 4th–5th century (Important Cultural Property)
Jujube-shaped Beads Jadeite, Excavated at Izumi Koganezuka Tumulus, Izumi-shi, Osaka, Kofun period, 4th–5th century (Important Cultural Property)

  
King's power to be inherited
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - June 28, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
(no english)盤龍鏡, Kofun period, 4th century (Created in China, 2nd–3rd century)
Mirror with Triangular Rim Design of three Buddhist deities and three beasts, Excavated at Dodogaike Tumulus, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Kofun period, 4th century
Horse Pendant with Bells, Excavated at Kokuzuka Tumulus, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Kofun period, 5th century (Gift of Mr. Hamuro Nagamichi)
Gilt Bronze Belt Fittings, With bells, Excavated at Kokuzuka Tumulus, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Kofun period, 5th century (Gift of Mr. Hamuro Nagamichi)
Gilt Bronze Belt Fittings, Excavated at Kokuzuka Tumulus, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Kofun period, 5th century (Gift of Mr. Hamuro Nagamichi)

  
View of Life and Death of Kofun Period
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - June 28, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Stone Ritual Dagger, Excavated at Tsuruyama Maruyama Tumulus, Bizen-shi, Okayama, Kofun period, 4th-5th century
Ritual Axe, Stone, From Ihinowakeme, Katori-shi, Chiba, Kofun period, 4th–5th century (Gift of Mr. Suzuki Kamataro)
Ritual Axe, Stone, From Shimosano Tennozan Tumulus, Takasaki-shi, Gunma, Kofun period, 5th century (Gift of Mr. Horiguchi Kikujiro and Mr. Horiguchi Magojiro)
Shell Bracelet, Excavated at Ikusabara Tumulus, Nanokaichi, Izumo-shi, Shimane, Kofun period, 4th century
 

  
Regional color of Ancient Tomb Culture
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - June 28, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Warabite Sword, Excavated at Moizari No. 11 Tumulus, Eniwa-shi, Hokkaido, Satsumon period, 8th century
Forceps, Excavated at Moizari No. 11 Tumulus, Eniwa-shi, Hokkaido, Satsumon period, 8th century

  
Ceremony of the Kofun Period
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - June 28, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Cheek Plates of Horse Bits, With bells, Excavated at Uenoyama Tumulus, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi, Kofun period, 6th century (Gift of Toyonishi-village, Yamaguchi)
Bell on a Bent Handle, Excavated at Shiroishi Inariyama Tumulus, Fujioka-shi, Gunma, Kofun period, 5th century
Stone Mirror, Excavated at Kanra-machi, Gunma, Kofun period, 5th century (Gift of Mr. Miki Michitaro)
Vessel, Woven basket design, Excavated at Kihara, Miho-mura, Ibaraki, Kofun period, 4th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)
 

  
Ancient Swords with Inscriptions and the Society of the Kofun Period
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - June 28, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Iron Sword with Silver Inlay Inscription, Excavated at Eta-Funayama Tumulus, Nagomi-machi, Kumamoto, Kofun period, 5th–6th century (National Treasure)
Warrior, Sekijin (Stone Tomb Figure), From Iwatoyama Tumulus, Yame-shi, Fukuoka, Kofun period, 6th century (Important Cultural Property)

  
The Eta Funayama Burial Mound and the Advanced Culture of Provincial Clans
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 4, 2019 (Tue) - June 28, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Gilt Bronze Crown, From Eta-Funayama Tumulus, Nagomi-machi, Kumamoto, Kofun period, 5th–6th century (National Treasure)
Iron Beaked Helmet, From Eta-Funayama Tumulus, Nagomi-cho, Kumamoto, Kofun period, 5th–6th century (National Treasure)
Iron Sword with Ring Pommel, Covered with Silver Leaf, From Eta-Funayama Tumulus, Nagomi-machi, Kumamoto, Kofun period, 5th–6th century (National Treasure)

  
Development of Figural Haniwa Tomb Figurines
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 18, 2019 (Tue) - July 12, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Man in Playing the Zither, Haniwa (Terracotta Tomb Figurine), Reportedly from Sakuragawa-shi, Ibaraki, Kofun period, 6th century (Private collection)
Haniwa (Terracotta tomb object), Boar, Excavated at Tenjin'yama, Sakai Kamitakeshi, Isesaki-shi, Gunma, Kofun period, 6th century (Important Cultural Property)
Haniwa (Terracotta tomb object), Horse, Excavated at Hinatajima, Kamichujo, Kumagaya-shi, Saitama, Kofun period, 6th century (Important Cultural Property)
 

  
Figural Haniwa Tomb Figurines and Funerary Rituals
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  June 18, 2019 (Tue) - July 12, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Tomb Sculpture ([Haniwa]): Warrior in Tankō Armor, Found in Kumagaya City, Saitama, Kofun period, 6th century (Important Cultural Property)
Haniwa (Terracotta tomb object), Chair, Excavated at Akabori Chausuyama Tumulus, Isesaki-shi, Gunma, Kofun period, 5th century
Haniwa (Terracotta tomb object), Footed vessel, Excavated at Akabori Chausuyama Tumulus, Isesaki-shi, Gunma, Kofun period, 5th century
Tomb Sculpture (
Haniwa): Boat, Found at Saitobaru Burial Mounds, Miyazaki, Kofun period, 5th century (Important Cultural Property)
Tomb Sculpture (
Haniwa): House with Smaller Houses, Found at Saitobaru Burial Mounds, Miyazaki, Kofun period, 5th century (Important Cultural Property)

  
Ancient Coins
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

Coins known as wado kaichin, which were minted in 708 (Wado 1),
represent the first serious effort in Japan to mint coins for circulation. Subsequently, twelve kinds of coins were minted in the Nara (710–794) and Heian (794–1192) periods. However, the minting of coins ceased by the latter half of the 10th century as the use of bronze coins imported from China became prevalent.

Current exhibit includes:

Kaiki Shoho, Gold Coin, Excavated at Fushimi, Nara, Nara period, 8th century (Important Cultural Property)
Casting Molds For Wado kaichin coins, Excavated at Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi, Nara period, 8th century (Gift of Mr. Shindo Zuido)

  
Ancient Japanese Tomb Epitaphs
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

Epitaphs buried in graves contain information such as the names, dates of death, ages, social standings, governmental positions, and accomplishments of the deceased. In Japan, the custom of making epitaphs spread in conjunction with cremation from the second half of the 7th to the first half of the 8th century. It was practiced mainly among the nobility in the Kinai region, where Kyoto and Nara are located today.

Current exhibit includes:
Epitaph of Fumi no Nemaro, Found at Fumi no Nemaro's Tomb, Nara, Asuka period, 707 (National Treasure)
Epitaphs of Oharida no Yasumaro, Excavated at Oharida Yasumaro's Tomb, Tsugekoka-cho, Nara-shi, Nara, Nara period, dated 729 (Important Cultural Property)

  
Unearthed Clay Statues
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

Techniques for making clay statues were brought to Japan in the mid–7th century, and numerous statues of this type were made between the late Asuka and Nara periods, from the mid–7th to the 8th century. From unearthed clay statues, which are often found in fragments with their original colors faded, techniques for making them can be determined, and the existence of unrecorded, nonextant temples can be confirmed.

Including:
Fragments of a Buddhist Image, Found at Tachibanadera Temple, Nara, Asuka period, 7th century
Sculpture Fragments, Found at Ruins of Kitano Temple (nonextant), Kyoto, Asuka–Nara period, 7th–8th century (Private collection)

  
Sutra Mounds: Time Capsules for 5,670,000,000 Years
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

Sutra mounds were created from the Heian (794–1192) to the Edo (1603–1868) period for the purpose of preserving Buddhist sutra scrolls. The oldest example is a mound from which a cylinder containing sutras was excavated on Mt. Kinpu in Nara prefecture. It is believed that the Heian-period aristocrat Fujiwara no Michinaga dedicated this cylinder in 1007. The shape of a mound as well as the sutras and other objects it contains vary with its location and the time it was created. Sutras for these mounds were inscribed not only on paper but also on ceramic tiles, bronze plates, stones, shells, and other materials.

The creation of sutra mounds was motivated by the idea, which became widespread in the mid-Heian period, that Buddhist Law will decline 2,000 years after the Buddha’s death. A series of natural disasters and disturbances in society occurred around 1052, the year that this decline was thought to begin, leading people to draw connections. It was also believed that the Buddhist deity Maitreya would reappear in this world 5,670,000,000 years in the future and that Buddhism would prosper again. Sutra mounds were essentially time capsules meant to preserve sutra scrolls until the arrival of this age.

including:
Sutra Case, Found at Hōki Ichinomiya Sutra Mound, Tottori, Heian period, 1103 (National Treasure, Shitori Shrine, Tottori)
Ewer Handle, Excavated at Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Heian period, 12th century
Sutra Case, Gilt Bronze, From Nishiyama-cho, Sabae-shi, Fukui, Muromachi period, 16th century
Stones with Sutra Text, Muromachi period, 16th century
Seashells with Sutra Text, Excaveted at Amidadera, Mure-mura, Hofu-shi, Yamaguchi, Muromachi period, 16th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)
Sutra Case, Found at a ruined temple, Shizuoka, Heian period, 1126
Outer Container (Pot) for a Sutra Case, Found at a ruined temple, Shizuoka, Heian period, 1126
Sutra Case, Excavated at Kashioyama Sutra Mound, Katsunuma-cho, Koshu-shi, Yamanashi, Heian period, dated 1103 (Important Cultural Property)

  
Sutra Mounds from Japan’s Ancient
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

Including:
Stupa-shaped Objects with Inscribed Sutra Indexes, Found at An'yōji Sutra Mound, Okayama, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by An'yōji Temple, Okayama)
Tile with an Image of Nyoirin Kannon, Found at An'yōji Sutra Mound, Okayama, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by An'yoji, Okayama)
Tile with an Image of Wisdom King Fudō, Found at An'yōji Sutra Mound, Okayama, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by An'yōji Temple, Okayama)

  
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

In 1956, a stash of gold coins from the Edo period including 208 koban and 60 ichibukin were excavated from the grounds of the Komatsu Store (now Ginza Komatsu) in the Ginza area of Tokyo. The grounds had been used by townspeople in the Edo period, but the reason why this stash of gold coins had been buried remains a mystery.

Including:
Koban Coins, Found in Chūō Ward, Tokyo, Edo period, 17th–18th century
Ichibu-kin Coins, Found in Chūō Ward, Tokyo, Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–18th century

  
Objects Excavated from the Residence of the Maeda Clan
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

The Hongo campus of the University of Tokyo is where the residence of the Maeda clan, lords of Kaga domain in present-day Ishikawa prefecture, existed in the Edo period (1603–1868). During excavations, various ceramic vessels from around the world – mainly ones from Japan, Qing-dynasty China, and Korea’s Joseon dynasty, as well as those made in Europe and West Asia – have been unearthed from this residence.

Including:
Bowl Fragment, Black glaze with "hare's fur" marks, Excavated on the premises of The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Edo period, 17th-18th century (Southern Song dynasty, 12th-13th century), (Lent by Archaeological Research Unit, The University of Tokyo)
Shards of a JarTransparent glaze on white slip with figure and flowering plant design in underglaze iron pigment, Excavated on the premises of The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Edo period, 17th-18th century (Yuan dynasty, 14th century),     Archaeological Research Unit, The University of Tokyo
Shards of Iznik Ware, Excavated on the premises of The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Edo period, 17th-18th century (Ottoman dynasty, 17th century), (Lent by Archaeological Research Unit, The University of Tokyo)
Shard of an EwerSalt glaze, Excavated on the premises of The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Edo period, 17th-18th century (Germany, 17th century), (Lent by Archaeological Research Unit, The University of Tokyo)
Shards of Delftware, Excavated on the premises of The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Edo period, 17th-18th century (The Netherlands, 17th century), (Lent by Archaeological Research Unit, The University of Tokyo)

  
Ancient Japanese Tomb Epitaphs
Japanese Archaeology Gallery  March 3, 2020 (Tue) - September 27, 2020 (Sun)

Epitaphs buried in graves contain information such as the names, dates of death, ages, social standings, governmental positions, and accomplishments of the deceased. In Japan, the custom of making epitaphs spread in conjunction with cremation from the second half of the 7th to the first half of the 8th century. It was practiced mainly among the nobility in the Kinai region, where Kyoto and Nara are located today.

Including:
Seal, Found in Dazaifu City, Fukuoka, Nara period, 8th century (Important Cultural Property)
Seal, Found at the Site of Nasu District Office, Tochigi, Heian period, 9th century (Important Cultural Property)
Seal, Place of excavation unknown, Heian period, 9th–10th century, Important Cultural Property (Lent by Keisokuji Temple, Tochigi)
Round Ink Slab, Found at Heijōkyō Capital Site, Nara, Nara period, 8th century (Lent by Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara)

1st floor

  
Thematic Exhibition Room  March 24, 2020 (Tue) - April 26, 2020 (Sun)

The Museum exhibits and conserves cultural properties, passing them down to future generations. To fulfill these goals, we practice conservation activities under three principles: (1) preventive conservation, in which different environments such as storage spaces and galleries are made suitable for the objects; (2) analyses of the objects’ conditions and the environments in which they are kept; and (3) interventive conservation, which ranges from emergency treatments to extensive repairs.

This exhibition features recently restored objects in order to share the Museum’s conservation activities with the public. It aims to deepen understanding of the Museum’s activities and the restoration of cultural properties, as well as the cultural and historical backgrounds of these properties.

2nd floor Special Exhibition Galleries

  
Special Exhibition Galleries  April 14, 2020 (Tue) - June 7, 2020 (Sun)

The kimono is one of Japan’s most iconic symbols, its colors and designs exemplifying Japanese cultural sensibilities and aesthetics. Lesser known, however, is that, the kimono originated as an undergarment. The predecessor to today’s kimono is a robe called the kosode (literally, “small sleeve openings”). The kosode first came into its own as an outer robe in medieval Japan during the Muromachi period (1392–1573). It was decorated accordingly with lavish dyed, embroidered, and gold or silver patterns.

This exhibition traces the kimono from its inception some eight hundred years ago to its role today as a symbol of Japanese culture with increasing sway on the contemporary fashion scene. Featuring some of the finest extant textiles, paintings, prints and other artworks drawn from collections in Japan and around the world, KIMONO: Fashioning Identities promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to consider the past, present, and future of this quintessential Japanese garment.