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Asian Gallery (Toyokan)

Toyokan was reopened on January 2, 2013. The galleries feature art and artifacts from regions including China, Korea, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, India, and Egypt.

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1st floor

Room 1  June 24, 2020 (Wed) - April 18, 2021 (Sun)

This section mainly features stone or gilt bronze Buddhist statues from about the 6th to the 8th century. The statues on display present the exquisite form of sculptures from the golden era of Buddhist statues in China.

2nd floor

Room 3  October 6, 2020 (Tue) - January 24, 2021 (Sun)

This part introduces artifacts from West Asia and Egypt, known as the cradle of the earliest civilizations.

Room 3  June 24, 2020 (Wed) - June 27, 2021 (Sun)

This part mainly features Buddhist statues from Gandhara (northwestern Pakistan) and Mathura (northern, central India) from the 2nd to the 5th century. The wide variety of sculptures on display is a notable feature.

Room 3  January 2, 2021 (Sat) - February 7, 2021 (Sun)

This part introduces art of the Western Regions (Central Asia) from about the 1st to the 10th century, with a focus on Buddhist art. The highlight of this part is the rich variety of works with high artistic and historical significance.

3rd floor

Room 4  October 6, 2020 (Tue) - January 24, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery focuses on pottery and jade objects from about 3000 BC to AD 200. The items on display present the beauty that ancient Chinese people pursued in the form and color of pottery, as well as the characteristic luster of jade.

Room 5  November 17, 2020 (Tue) - March 7, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery focuses on Chinese bronzes from about 1,800 BC to 1,000 AD. The changing shapes and designs of the bronzes on display provide clues to the thoughts and shifting religious beliefs of the ancient Chinese people.

Room 5  November 3, 2020 (Tue) - February 21, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery introduces burial goods from about the 2nd century BC to the 8th century AD. During this period, the aristocracy and ruling elites were buried in tomb mounds along with numerous items meant to ensure their comfort in the next life, such as miniature models of daily goods (<i>mingqi</i>) and tomb figures shaped like servants or other people to care for them after death. The miniature models are often related to livestock or agriculture and give clues about the dietary practices of people living during this period. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see tomb figures from the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) and earthenware decorated in the renowned "three-color glaze" (<i>sancai</i>) of the Tang dynasty (618–907).

Room 5  November 3, 2020 (Tue) - March 21, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery presents the changing expressions of Chinese ceramics from the 7th to the 19th century.

Room 5  November 3, 2020 (Tue) - January 31, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery introduces Chinese textiles and embroidery from the 13th to the 19th century.

4th floor

Room 7  June 24, 2020 (Wed) - April 4, 2021 (Sun)

In the 2nd century BC, Chinese tombs were not simply holes in the ground. They developed to have walls and ceilings, with a structure almost like underground mansions. Tombs also appeared that had shrines built above ground for the bereaved families to perform rituals. Particularly in Shandong province and southern Henan province, sturdy stone was favored for making the tombs and shrines, with the stone surfaces used for carving images. Many of these stone bas-reliefs were created until the second half of the 2nd century in the Eastern Han dynasty.

Room 8  January 2, 2021 (Sat) - February 28, 2021 (Sun)

In this joint exhibition, The Tokyo National Museum and the Taito City Museum of Calligraphy present paintings and calligraphy from the Takashima Kaian (1866–1943) and Nakamura Fusetsu (1875–1969) Collections, which are both based on earlier private and court collections of the Qing dynasty.

5th floor

Room 9  December 15, 2020 (Tue) - March 14, 2021 (Sun)

Lacquer is the sap of the lacquer tree, which grows in East and Southeast Asia. Naturally sticky, it can be brushed onto different materials, and hardens into a durable coating that is waterproof and resistant to acids, alkalis, and heat.

The history of lacquerware in China dates back to the Neolithic period. Over the past 7,000 years, a number of ornate decorative techniques have grown out of Chinese innovations, including: built-up layers of lacquer that are then carved, mother-of-pearl inlay, incised lines of gold, and a special type of decorative inlay made up of different colors of lacquer and outlined in incised lines.

Room 9  December 15, 2020 (Tue) - March 14, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery introduces the decorative art of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) in China, such as works of jade, cloisonne, glass, and bamboo. The items on display feature the beauty of fine technical skill and the sophisticated atmosphere of Qing–dynasty decorative art.

Room 10  October 20, 2020 (Tue) - April 25, 2021 (Sun)

This part highlights Korean polished stone tools and metal objects that had a great influence on Japan's Yayoi culture.

Room 10  October 20, 2020 (Tue) - April 25, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery presents artifacts from Korea’s Three Kingdoms period (57 BC¬–668 AD), an era when powerful rulers vied for control of the Korean Peninsula. The three kingdoms were comprised of Goguryeo in the north, Baekje in the southwest, and Silla in the southeast. A fourth state, known as the Gaya confederacy, also existed in the south before being annexed by Silla.

Each region made full use of the materials of the time—namely, gold, silver, bronze, iron, glass, and jade—to create distinct ornaments and other objects including, armor, horse tack, clay tiles, and pottery.

Room 10  October 20, 2020 (Tue) - April 25, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery introduces Korean ceramics from the Proto–Three Kingdoms period (1st century BC–3rd century AD) to the Joseon dynasty(1392–1910).

Room 10  October 13, 2020 (Tue) - April 4, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery features the essence of Korean Buddhist art.

Room 10  January 13, 2021 (Wed) - April 4, 2021 (Sun)

This gallery features Korean furniture, clothing, and room decor from the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). While the costumes, furniture, tableware, and stationery each possessed individual beauty, their appeal was enhanced by their placement in living spaces.


Room 11  June 24, 2020 (Wed) - May 16, 2021 (Sun)

This section introduces sculptures from Khmer, with a focus on stone statues from the Angkor period (9th-13th century). The Tokyo National Museum collection of Khmer sculptures, which are distinguished in both quality and quantity, was acquired in 1944 through an exchange project with the research institute l'École francaise d'Extrême-Orient.

Room 12  June 24, 2020 (Wed) - May 16, 2021 (Sun)

This part focuses on Southeast Asian gilt bronze statues of gods and Buddhist deities from the 7th to 13th century. The statues are made using the lost–wax casting process, and therefore they have common qualities in their plasticity and smoothness of form.

Room 12  June 24, 2020 (Wed) - April 25, 2021 (Sun)

The excavated pottery and metal wares exhibited in this part clearly show the prosperity of cultures with rich regional characteristics in ancient India and Southeast Asia.

Room 12  January 13, 2021 (Wed) - May 16, 2021 (Sun)

This part introduces the individual styles of ceramics made in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam from the 9th to the 16th century.

Room 13  November 3, 2020 (Tue) - January 31, 2021 (Sun)

Named for the Kashmir region of northwestern India, Cashmere goats are famous for their soft and lustrous wool that was made into luxurious shawls from the 16th to 18th century. Indian weavers used a labor-intensive technique, called a tapestry weave, to weave ornate patterns into the fabric as they made it, though it was also common to use the faster technique of embroidering an already-made cloth.

As demand for cashmere shawls grew in Europe and the Middle East, Persian weavers in Iran began to supply shawls as well. This gallery presents these shawls along with the opulent clothing and carpets of the ruling elite in Persia’s Safavid dynasty (1501–1736) and India’s Mughal Empire (1526–1858).

Room 13  January 13, 2021 (Wed) - February 7, 2021 (Sun)

The art of “miniature painting” is one of India’s best-known genres. These paintings use elaborate brushwork and vibrant colors to depict a variety of themes, including: Indian myths, Hindu gods, portraits of kings, scenes from history, and love stories. Miniature paintings can also be enjoyed for their distinct regional styles that reflect India’s rich history of cultural diversity.

Room 13  November 10, 2020 (Tue) - February 7, 2021 (Sun)

Located directly south of Japan, the South Pacific is comprised of tens of thousands of islands, including New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago. Around 4,000 years ago, humans migrated from mainland Asia and settled across certain regions of the South Pacific, developing their own cultures and beliefs.

Melanesia encompasses the southwestern region of the South Pacific and is home to many cultures where spirit worship is widely practiced, including ancestor worship. These spirits are traditionally represented in a rich array of forms, such as masks and funerary figures called kulap. This section of the gallery is currently showcasing Melanesia’s unique religious carvings, including spirit masks used in funerary rites and a wooden crocodile.