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Masterpieces of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: Treasures Passed Down to the Present

Masterpieces of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: Treasures Passed Down to the Present / Toyokan Room 8   September 30, 2014 (Tue) - December 7, 2014 (Sun)

  
Youlan Tablature in Jieshi Diao (“Stone Tablet”) Mode, Vol. V, China, Tang dynasty, 7th - 8th century (National Treasure)

From long ago, Chinese paintings and calligraphy were brought to Japan in great quantities and had an undeniable influence on Japanese art. Pieces from the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties in particular became very well known in Japan. Many of them were imported together with Zen Buddhism during the Kamakura period (1192-1333) and displayed in tea houses and formal shoin rooms according to Japanese tastes.

A large number of significant pieces were later accumulated by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1436-90). Among these and other Chinese artworks in Japan, many have no surviving equivalents in China, making them particularly valuable. From the Meiji era (1868-1912), outstanding Japanese collectors who adopted the ideals of China’s educated elite also acquired many fine pieces, which were likewise passed down to future generations.

These artworks, which represent the essence of Chinese painting and calligraphy, inevitably become damaged over the years. Significant restorative measures become necessary once every 50 to 100 years, and allow these pieces to survive into the future. One piece that was recently restored is Five Dragons by Chen Rong, who was famous for his depictions of these legendary creatures. Following two years of extensive restoration work, this painting is being displayed for the first time during the first half of this exhibition.

We invite visitors to view paintings and works of calligraphy ranging from the Tang (618-907) to the Qing (1616-1912) dynasties, while keeping in mind the spirit and notable skill of those who allowed them to be passed down to present day.

Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Sahasrabhuja Avalokitesvara (Thousand-armed Avalokitesvara), China, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Eihoji, Gifu, On exhibit through November 3, 2014)
Cockerel and Bamboo, By Luo Chuang, China, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, On exhibit through November 3, 2014)
Landscape, Inscription by Du Guandao, China, Ming dynasty, 14th century (Important Cultural Property, On exhibit from November 5, 2014)
Sparrow Chicks in a Basket, Attributed to Song Ruzhi, China, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, On exhibit through November 3, 2014)
Five Dragons, Attributed to Chen Rong, China, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, On exhibit through November 3, 2014)
Youlan Tablature in Jieshi Diao (or "Stone Tablet") Mode, Vol. V, China, Tang dynasty, 7th - 8th century (National Treasure)
Manuscript of Epitaphs for Wang Zhong and Shi Fu, By Huang Tingjian, China, Northern Song dynasty, 11th century
Poems in Running Script, By Mi Fu, China, Northern Song dynasty, dated 1106
Characters for Plaque of a Buddhist Temple, By Zhang Jizhi, China, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century (National Treasure, Lent by Tofukuji, Kyoto)