Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 16
March 27, 2012 (Tue) - May 20, 2012 (Sun)
Ninagawa Noritane (1835 - 82) was born to a family of workers for Toji temple in Kyoto, and during the end of the Edo period he carried out surveys of cultural properties on his own. At the beginning of the following Meiji era (1868 - 1912), he was employed by the new government and moved to Tokyo. After working for the policy bureau he became involved in the founding of the present-day Tokyo National Museum.
In March 1872, Ninagawa organized the Yushima Seido Exposition, which is recognized as the founding of Tokyo National Museum. Then in May that year, he participated in research of temple and shrine treasures with Machida Hisanari (first director of the museum) and Uchida Masao. The aim of the research was the protection of cultural properties, in accordance with an edict to preserve ancient artifacts promulgated by the Great Council of State (Dajokan) in 1871. This research project is called the Jinshin Survey, from the name for the Chinese zodiac of 1872. The Jinshin Survey is highly regarded as a pioneering activity in the protection of cultural properties, and the related materials are designated as an Important Cultural Property. Research continued after 1872, including a large-scale project in 1875. Among the works produced and donated by Ninagawa in relation to the projects, more than 300 remain in the museum collection to this day.
This exhibition introduces the early days of the Tokyo National Museum, with a focus on materials related to Ninagawa’s research at the end of the Edo period, in the Jinshin Survey, and during the survey of 1875.