Buddhist Sculpture from the Edo Period to the Modern Era

"Buddhist Sculpture from the Edo Period to the Modern Era"

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 14  July 10, 2018 (Tue) - September 30, 2018 (Sun)

The Taoist Immortal Xiama, By Takahashi Hozan, Edo Period, 19th century

From the Edo period (1603–1868) to the Meiji era (1868–1912), the circumstances surrounding Buddhist art in Japan changed dramatically. In the Meiji era, a nationalistic movement to expel Buddhism, which some viewed as a foreign religion, led to the destruction of countless Buddhist sculptures. Meanwhile, the craftsmen who created these sculptures were forced to seek new work. The government, however, fearing the continued destruction of these objects, so symbolic of Japan’s history and culture, took measures to protect them. Thus, in the Modern era, Buddhist sculptures, which had been objects of workshop, also came to be accepted as “cultural properties,” while former Buddhist sculptors began to use their abilities to create what was now considered art. This thematic exhibition compares sculptures from the Edo period and the Meiji era, allowing visitors to examine how the diversification of values prompted new developments in Buddhist sculptural expression.

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