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140th Anniversary Thematic Exhibitions: Kuki Ryuichi and the Imperial Museum: Special Nationwide Research of Cultural Artifacts

140th Anniversary Thematic Exhibitions: Kuki Ryuichi and the Imperial Museum: Special Nationwide Research of Cultural Artifacts / Honkan Room 16   May 22, 2012 (Tue) - July 16, 2012 (Mon)

  
Fan-shaped Albums of the Lotus Sutra (Copy), Copied by Kobori Tomoto and Terasaki Kogyo, Ca. 1896,
Original: preserved at Shitennoji in Osaka, and other places, Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure)

Kuki Ryuichi (1852-1931) was born into a warrior family of Sanda domain in Harima province (in present-day Hyogo prefecture). After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, he worked in the Ministry of Education, gaining experience in education and cultural administration through study in Europe, participation at a world exposition in Paris, and other activities. In 1888, he transferred to the Imperial Household Ministry, where he led the government's nationwide survey into cultural properties as the chairman of the newly-established Special Nationwide Investigation into Cultural Artifacts Committee. Kuki was then appointed as the first Director General of the Imperial Museum (a forerunner of the Tokyo National Museum), where he committed himself to developing the museum as a storehouse of cultural properties befitting a modern nation. Based on the results of the nationwide survey, he strived to regulate the protection of cultural properties, and was deeply involved in the establishment of the Law for the Preservation of Ancient Shrines and Temples in 1897.

This exhibition traces Kuki's work through materials related to the museum's history. In particular, materials on display introduce how the Special Nationwide Research of Cultural Artifacts, which was transferred from the Imperial Household Ministry to the Imperial Museum in 1897, was implemented within the museum, while also comparing extant records with objects donated to the museum in later years. The exhibition also attempts to evoke an image of the museum from this period.

Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Fan-shaped Albums of the Lotus Sutra (Copy), Copied by Kobori Tomoto and Terasaki Kogyo, Ca. 1896 (Meiji 29), Original: preserved at Shitennoji in Osaka, and other places, Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure)
Draft for proposal of principles for transferring objects in the museum collection into the fine arts category, Meiji era, 19th century