>> Exhibitions
 >> July 10, 2008 (Thu)Honkan

July 10, 2008 (Thu)Honkan

The original Main Gallery (designed by the British architect Josiah Conder) was severely damaged in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. In contrast to western style of the original structure, the design of the present Honkan by Watanabe Jin is the more eastern "Emperor's Crown Style." Construction began in 1932, and the building was opened in 1938.
24 exhibition rooms on two floors provide a thorough introduction into Japanese art: "Highlights of Japanese Art" on the second floor introduces the development of Japanese art from Jomon through to the Edo period in a chronological manner, and genre galleries presenting specific rooms displaying ceramics, swords, lacquerwares, sculptures, modern decorative arts as well as the material culture of Ainu and Ryukyu are located on the first floor.

Floor Map
Museum Shop

2nd floor "Highlights of Japanese Art"

The Dawn of Japanese Art
Prehistory and Protohistory: the Jomon, Yayoi, and Kofun Periods (10000B.C. - A.D. 600)
Room 1  April 8, 2008 (Tue) - October 5, 2008 (Sun)

The Jomon culture began around 12,000 years ago. Earthenware vessels of this age with various motifs and styles are the starting point of "Highlights of Japanese Art." In the Yayoi period (450 B.C.- A.D. 250), pottery with a simplistic yet refined beauty and dotaku bell-shaped bronzes were prominent. Typical objects from the Kofun period (A.D. 250-600), such as haji, sue wares and haniwa figurines, as well as mirrors, arms and armor, saddlery, and accessory, which expresses the essence of metal and glass craftsmanship, are also featured.
Current exhibit includes:
Jomon Vessel with Flame-like Ornamentation, Jomon period, 3000 - 2000BC
Jar, Yayoi period, 1st - 3rd century(Important Cultural Property)
Haniwa Man in Formal Attire, Terra-cotta Tomb Ornament, Kofun period, 6th century

The Rise of Buddhism: Asuka and Nara Periods (6c-8c)
Room 1  July 8, 2008 (Tue) - August 17, 2008 (Sun)

In the mid-6th century, Buddhism was officially introduced into Japan from the kingdom of Baekje on the southeastern coast of the Korean peninsula. Japanese culture made a remarkable progress with the adoption of Buddhism. This gallery features early Buddhist statues, sutras, reliquaries, and ritual implements from the Asuka and Nara periods.
Current exhibit includes:
Standing Sho-kannon Bosatsu (Avalokitesvara) (copy), By Yamada Kisai, 1893 (Original: Asuka - Nara period, 7th - 8th century, in Yakushiji temple, Nara)
Daihodo Daijikkyo (Buddhist scripture), Bosatsunenbutsuzanmai Section, Nara period, 8th century (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Sarira (Sacred Ash) Container, Nara period, 8th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Ota Jisaburo and Mr. Hirano Sutejiro)

National Treasure Gallery Letters by Kukai
Room 2  July 8, 2008 (Tue) - August 3, 2008 (Sun)

This room is specially designed for the comfortable viewing of masterpieces in a tranquil setting. With each rotation, one exceptional work of painting or calligraphy designated as National Treasure will be presented. The selections come from the Museum's collection or works that are on loan to the Museum.
On Exhibit:
Letters, By Kukai, Heian period, 9th century (National Treasure, Lent by Kyo'ogokoku-ji, Kyoto)

Buddhist Art: Heian to Muromachi Periods (8c-16c)
Room 3  July 8, 2008 (Tue) - August 17, 2008 (Sun)

Buddhist art is one of the major genres that define Japanese art. Many masterworks date from the late Heian period, a time characterized as classical in Japanese art history. After the Kamakura period, Buddhist art further developed in its materials, methods, and styles as Zen schools and other new Buddhist schools emerged, together with the influence from the Chinese arts. This exhibit features artworks from the Heian to Kamakura periods, when Buddhist art most flourished, adding siginificant objects from the Nanbokucho and Muromachi periods.
Current exhibit includes:
Standing Jizo Bosatsu (Ksitigarbha), Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property)
Festival at Chikubu shima Shrine, Muromachi period, 16th century
Nika Byakudo (white path of faith between two rivers of temptations), Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Komyoji, Kyoto)
Ten Kings of Hell, Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Jofukuji, Kyoto)
Plaque with Hair-line Engraving of Zao Gongen, A deity of mountain asceticism, Heian period, dated 1001 (National Treasure)
Shui kotoku den Emaki (illustrated biography of priest Honen), Kamakura period, dated 1323 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Jofukuji, Ibaraki)
Hoke Kyo (Lotus Sutra), Kuno-ji Version, Heian period, 12th century(National Treasure, Lent by Tesshuji, Shizuoka)
Hoke Kyo (Lotus sutra), vol.4, Known as Sensoji-kyo, Heian period, 11th century(National Treasure)
Keko (flower basket), Flower scroll in openwork, Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure, Lent by Jinshoji, Shiga)
Flower Baskets, with Hosoge flowers in openwork, Kamakura period, 13th century (National Treasure, Lent by Jinshoji, Shiga)

Courtly Art: Heian to Muromachi Periods (8c-16c)
Room 3  July 8, 2008 (Tue) - August 17, 2008 (Sun)

The courtiers were strongly involved in the arts through the Heian and Muromachi periods, their aesthetic tastes playing a great role in Japanese art history. Literature works such as waka poems and other calligraphy written by courtiers, and e-maki narrative picture scrolls are displayed in this room with decorative art objects.
Current exhibit includes:
Record of Various Poem Contests, Attributed to Fujiwara no Tadaie, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property)
Record of poem contests held by Tsunehira no Daini, Attributed to Fujiwara no Toshitada, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property)

Zen and Ink Paintings: Kamakura and Muromachi Periods (12c-16c)
Room 3  July 8, 2008 (Tue) - August 17, 2008 (Sun)

This gallery features works by famous artists of the landscape-painting genre, along with famous works of bokuseki (calligraphy by Zen priests).
Current exhibit includes:
White-robed Avalokitesvara, Attributed to Fujiwara no Nobuzane, Kamakura period, 13th century (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)

Art of the Tea Ceremony
Room 4  April 8, 2008 (Tue) - July 27, 2008 (Sun)

Selections of tea ceremony objects from the donations of the late collector Hirota Matsushige (Fukkosai), known for his collection of fine ceramics.
Current exhibit includes:
Vase in Shape of Jade, Celadon glaze, Guan ware, Southern Song dynasty, 12th -13th century, China(Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)
Tea caddy , Design of drooping-cherry in maki-e lacquer., Edo Period, 17th century.
Powder-tea spoon, bamboo, Known as "Kame", By Sugiki Fusai, Edo period, 17th century
Shallow Bowl, Kiseto type, Mino ware/Flowering plant design, Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period, 16th - 17th century

Attire of the Military Elite: Heian to Edo Periods (12c-19c)
Room 5 & 6  June 10, 2008 (Tue) - September 7, 2008 (Sun)

Beginning with the sword the most important possession of a samurai, this gallery focuses on arms and armor, saddlery, attire of the warriors as well as their portraits and hand-writings.
Current exhibit includes:
Sujikabuto Style Helmet with Black Leather Triangle Lacing, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property)
Hyogo-gusari-no-tachi Style Sword Mounting, Lion and peony design, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)

Folding Screen and Sliding Door Paintings: Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo Periods (16c-19c)
Room 7  June 3, 2008 (Tue) - July 13, 2008 (Sun)

This gallery is dedicated to the genre of shohei-ga, which includes mural paintings, fusuma paintings and byobu paintings. The room is especially designed for an effective display of grand-scale paintings.
Current exhibit includes:
Landscape, By Unkoku Togan, Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period, 16th - 17th century (Important Cultural Property)

Interior Furnishings and Daily Utensils: Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo Periods (16c-19c)
Room 8  April 22, 2008 (Tue) - July 21, 2008 (Mon)

The maturing of Japanese culture supported by the military and commoner classes continued throughout the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods. This gallery introduces the craft of interior furnishings and daily utensils that adorned the life of the people during these periods.
Current exhibit includes:
Writing Box, Hydrangeas in maki-e lacquer, Edo period, 18th century (Gift of Mr. Quincy A. Shaw)
Furisode (Garment with long sleeves), Design of the four accomplishments in an autumn landscape on gray crepe ground, Edo period, 19th century
Small Dish, Nabeshima ware / Motif of three jars, Edo period, 17th century (Gift of Mr. Nakamichi Sanpei)
Bowl with Arch Handle, Oribe type, Mino ware, Edo period, 17th century (Gift of Mr. Mino Susumu)

Developments in Painting and Calligraphy: Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo Periods (16c-19c)
Room 8  June 3, 2008 (Tue) - July 13, 2008 (Sun)

This gallery introduces the dynamic and multi-faceted world of paintings and calligraphy from the Azuchi-Momoyama to the Edo period.
Current exhibit includes:
Inu-ou-mono (equestrian archery contest), Artist unknown, Edo period, 18th century
Philosophical Essay, By Ichikawa Beian, Edo period, dated 1839

Room 9  June 17, 2008 (Tue) - August 3, 2008 (Sun)

Features the Noh play "Uto", by the costumes and masks used in the Edo period. The exhibition room is designed similar to a stage in order to help the understanding of the traditional performing art of Noh.

Ukiyo-e and Costumes: Edo Period (17c-19c) Ukiyo-e
Room 10  July 1, 2008 (Tue) - July 27, 2008 (Sun)

This gallery shows individualistic and manifold works of the ukiyo-e artists, ranging from depictions of pleasure quarters, kabuki plays, traditional bird and flower motifs and narrative pictures, to landscapes. The screen painting on view is an example of genre paintings, one of the origins of ukiyo-e. Prints of beauties, landscapes and ghosts, with a focus on works by Hokusai, are also on exhibit.
Exhibit includes:
Woman with Fan after Bath, By Katsukawa Shunsho, Edo period, 18th century (Important Art Object)
Firework show at Ryogoku, By Kitagawa Utamaro, Edo period, 18th century
One Hundred Ghost Stories: Ghost of the Sarayashiki Residence, By Katsushika Hokusai, Edo period, 19th century

Ukiyo-e and Costumes: Edo Period (17c-19c) Edo Period Fashion and Design
Room 10  June 17, 2008 (Tue) - August 3, 2008 (Sun)

Introduces the fashion of the Edo period townspeople. Enjoy comparing with the ukiyo-e works exhibited in the same room.
Current exhibit includes:
Karaori Garment (Noh Costume), Chrysanthemum sprays on checkered brown ground, Edo period, 18th century
Atsuita Garment (Noh Costume), Bamboo and butterflies on light blue ground, Edo period, 18th century

2nd floor

Room T1 & T2  June 17, 2008 (Tue) - July 13, 2008 (Sun)

This exhibit features 36 new pieces from last year's acquisitions.

1st floor

Room 11  July 10, 2008 (Thu) - September 21, 2008 (Sun)

By looking at the statues from the temple Rokuharamitsuji, this exhibit demonstrates how the style of Buddhist statues changed from the 10th through the 13th century. It is a rare occasion to see the statues outside the temple.
Exhibit Includes:
Seated Figure in Priest Form (said to be portrait of Taira no Kiyomori), Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Rokuharamitsuji, Kyoto) Standing Jizo Bosatsu (Ksitigarbha), Heian period, 11th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Rokuharamitsuji, Kyoto) Seated Yakushi Nyorai (Bhaisajyaguru), Heian period, 10th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Rokuharamitsuji, Kyoto)

Room 12  July 10, 2008 (Thu) - September 21, 2008 (Sun)

This thematic display features: the two statues of Dainichi Nyorai, which are most probably by Unkei himself; the Twelve Heavenly Generals, which some scholars think were produced at Unkei's studio; some Unkei style statues from the Kanto region; as well as works by Koen, Unkei's grandson.
Exhibit Includes:
Seated Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana), Heian - Kamakura period, 12th century (Lent by Shinnyoen, Tokyo)
Seated Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana), Kamakura period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Kotokuji, Tochigi)
Seated Amida Nyorai (Amitabha), Kamakura period, 12th century (Lent by Ganshoji, Shizuoka)
Standing Juni Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals), Kamakura period,12th - 13th century (Lent by Seiganji, Kanagawa)

Room 13  July 1, 2008 (Tue) - September 28, 2008 (Sun)

Focuses on kyo-yaki, Imari ware and other ceramics from the Edo period, together with ceramic ware related to the tea ceremony. Featuring motifs of the season, the works on view are organized by their origins to highlight their styles.

Room 13  July 1, 2008 (Tue) - September 28, 2008 (Sun)

Features maki-e works from Heian to Edo period. The exhibit will show the history and beauty of maki-e, a unique lacquerwork method that developed in Japan.
Current exhibition includes:
Box for Priest's Vestment, Seascape design in maki-e lacquer, Heian period, 10th century (National Treasure)
Tebako (cosmetic box), Design of cypress fans in maki-e lacquer, Kamakura Period, 13th century(Important Cultural Property)
Saddle, Hagi(bush clover) in mother-of-pearl inlay, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property)

Swords and Sword-fittings
Room 13  July 1, 2008 (Tue) - September 28, 2008 (Sun)

Exhibits selected swords and sword-fittings from the Heian to Edo period, including the National Tresure Kikko Sadamune and scabbards by Kaneie, a master artisan of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.
Current exhibition includes:
Katana Sword, Known as "Kikko Sadamune", By Soshu Sadamune, Kamakura - Nanbokucho period, 14th century (National Treasure)
Sword Guard, With Daruma (Bodhidharma,the founder of Zen Buddhism), By Kaneie, Momoyama period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property)

Room 14  April 8, 2008 (Tue) - July 27, 2008 (Sun)

This thematic display features Korean tea bowls from the Museum's collection, many of which were donated by Messrs. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon (1875-1971) and Hirota Matsushige (1897- 1973). It includes many excellent works and a wide variety of pottery types such as Ido, Totoya, and Hori-Mishima.
Exhibit Includes:
Tea Bowl, Mujihakeme type, Known as Murakumo, Joseon dynasty, 16th century, Korea(Gift of Mr, Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Tea Bowl, Oido type, Known as Uraku, Joseon dynasty, 15-16th century, Korea(Important Art Object, Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Tea Bowl, Aoido type, Known as Toki-ido, Joseon dynasty, 16th century, Korea(Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)
Tea Bowl, Totoya type, Known as Mine-no-yuki, Joseon dynasty, 16th - 17th century, Korea
Tea Bowl, Horimishima type, Known as Kimura, Joseon dynasty, 16th - 17th century, Korea
Kyogennbakama Tea Bowl, Joseon dynasty, 17th century, Korea

Room 15  July 1, 2008 (Tue) - September 28, 2008 (Sun)

The Tokyo National Museum's collection of Ryukyu cultural items contains a number of items that reflect the vibrancy and character of Ryukyu decorative arts. Items displayed include lacquerware, metalwork, textiles, pottery, and items of the noro - female ritual officers.

Room 16  July 8, 2008 (Tue) - August 3, 2008 (Sun)

This display features photographs as records of art works. Included are photo albums documenting World Expositions held in Vienna and Paris during the early Meiji period and the objects shown there. It also features photographs of works shown at the Kanko Bijutsu-kai, an exhibition of old art works held regularly at that time, as well as the works of Kudo Risaburo, one of the pioneers in artistic photography.

Preserving Our Cultural Properties
Room 17  March 25, 2008 (Tue) - March 22, 2009 (Sun)

The preservation and conservation of cultural properties are essential aspects of our Museum's mission. From this point of view, this room features object research and examination, environmental maintenance of storage and exhibition rooms, and conservation procedures applied in accordance to materials and conditions of the objects.

Modern Art
Room 18  July 8, 2008 (Tue) - August 17, 2008 (Sun)

This gallery features paintings and sculptures from the Meiji to Taisho period. Since it first opened in 1872 as the exposition venue of the Ministry of Education, Tokyo National Museum has collected important artworks that signify the development of modern Japanese art. The exhibit consists of selected works from the collection.
Current exhibit includes:
Brahmin, By Hirakushi Denchu, Dated 1917
Yumedono Hall of Horyu-ji Temple, By Yasuda Yukihiko, 1912
Sceneries in the tropical land, By Imamura Shiko, dated 1914 (Important Cultural Property)
Tokiwa Bridge across Sukawa River, By Takahasi Yuichi, dated 1881 - 82

Modern Decorative Arts
Room 19  June 17, 2008 (Tue) - September 15, 2008 (Mon)

Features decorative arts from the Meiji period such as those exhibited at the World's Fair in 1893.
Current exhibit includes:
Large Cloisonne Vase, Peony design, By Kaji Sataro, 1892
Plaque, Design of wild ducks and lotuses in maki-e lacquer, By Shibata Zeshin, 1881
Tablet "Moon and Wild-goose", By Kano Natsuo, 1897

1st floor

Room T5  July 27, 2007 (Fri) - November 3, 2009 (Tue)

>> detailed information
This display traces the development of Buddhist statues from Gandhara (Ancient India), China, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan to provide insights about how Buddhist beliefs and statues developed in each region.