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Eternal Treasures from Kasugataisha Shrine

Eternal Treasures from Kasugataisha Shrine / Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries   January 17, 2017 (Tue) - March 12, 2017 (Sun)

  

Designated a World Heritage Site, Kasuga Taisha Shrine (Nara prefecture) was built at the beginning of the Nara period (710–794) in prayer for the protection of the capital and the prosperity of the people. From ancient times, the shrine revered deer as divine messengers of the gods. This exhibition presents masterpieces of decorative art in the collection of Kasuga Taisha, which is regarded as the “treasure trove” of the Heian period (794–1192). Other artworks on exhibit include a number of fine objects such as prized swords, arms, and armor from Japan’s medieval period, as well as paintings and sculptures associated with people’s faith in Kasugataisha Shrine.

 

Highlights of the Exhibition

General Information

"Adorable animals from Kasuga" Voting(voting period:February 1 - March 12, 2017)

Highlights of the Exhibition

 

 

Part 1    Primeval Forest of the Sacred Deer

According to Kasugataisha history, Takemikazuchi no Mikoto rode from Kashima on a deer and dismounted at the Kasugayama Primeval Forest.
This section introduces art related to the divine yet charming sacred deer along with historical documents that recount the beginnings of the Grand Shrine of Kasugataisha.
 

 

Deity Departing from Kashima
Shrine
Deity Departing from Kashima Shrine
Nanbokucho to Muromachi period, 14th–15th century
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
 

Deer

Deer
Edo period, 17th century
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
 

 

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Part 2     A "Heian-era Shosoin Treasury"

At Kasugataisha, numerous divine treasures were dedicated on occasions such as imperial visits and ceremonies that are held every twenty years to repair or rebuild the main shrine buildings. Moreover, since Kasugataisha houses the tutelary deities of the Fujiwara clan, this family also made many sacred offerings.
As the only place where such divine treasures from the Heian period have been preserved to the present in their original form, the Kasugataisha collection is extolled as a “Heian-era Shosoin Treasury,”
making reference to the great repository of preceding Nara-period (710–794) treasures at the Buddhist temple Todaiji.
 

Koto
Koto (zither)
From the Old Divine Treasures, Properties of the Principal Deity
Heian period, 12th century
National Treasure
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
[on exhibit from February 14 to March 12, 2017]
 
Flat Quiver
Flat Quiver
From the Old Divine Treasures, Properties of the Wakamiya Deity
Heian period, 12th century
National Treasure
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
[on exhibit from January 17 to February 12, 2017]

 

 


Sword Mounting, Tachi


Sword Mounting, Tachi (long sword)-style, With tweezer-shaped opening
Heian period, 12th century
National Treasure
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
[on exhibit from January 17 to February 19, 2017]

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Part 3    The Aesthetic World of the Kasuga Cult

Kasugataisha attracted a following among the people and matured as the tutelary shrine of the Fujiwara clan. Emperors and members of the imperial family made many pilgrimages to Kasuga, starting with Emperor Ichijo in the first half of the Heian period.
The culmination of this cult of the Kasuga deity was realized in the Kasuga gongen genki-e (Illustrated Miracles of the Kasuga Deity), a set of twenty illustrated scrolls on silk that was produced at the request of Minister of the Left Saionji Kinhira in the latter half of the Kamakura period. It can be considered one of the ultimate achievements in the history of illustrated scroll painting in Japan.
In these ways, profound faith in the Kasuga deities gave rise to many aesthetic creations.
 

 

Kasuga Shrine Mandala
Kasuga Shrine Mandala
Kamakura period, 13th century
Tokyo National Museum
[on exhibit from January 17 to February 12, 2017]
 
Monju Bosatsu
Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri) Seated on a Lion, With Standing Attendants
By Koen
Kamakura period, dated 1273
Important Cultural Property
Tokyo National Museum
 

 

Kasuga gongen genki-e

Kasuga gongen genki-e (Illustrated Miracles of the Kasuga Deity), Kasuga version, Scroll 12
Edo period, dated 1807
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
Scenes will be changed regularly.
 

 

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Part 4    Offerings of Arms and Armor

It is often the case that swords, helmets, and armor that have been presented as shrine offerings are preserved with many of their original components intact, allowing us to deepen our understanding of them and their historical placement and significance.
Difficulties of historical placement can also be attributed to the exceptional state of preservation these objects have enjoyed as a result of the enduring faith of the people and the long history of the shrines. The arms and armor of Kasugataisha are exemplary sacred treasures that vividly chronicle that history.
 

Oyoroi-type Armor
Oyoroi-type Armor with Red Lacing Ornaments of plum and bush warbler
Kamakura period, 13th century
National Treasure
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
[on exhibit from January 17 to February 19, 2017]
 

 

Oyoroi-type Armor
Oyoroi-type Armor with Red Lacing Ornaments of bamboo, tigers, and sparrows
Kamakura to Nanbokucho period, 13th–14th century
National Treasure
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
[on exhibit from February 14 to March 12, 2017]
 

 

Sword Mounting

 

Sword Mounting, Tachi (long sword)-style, Hyogogusari-type Wood sorrel crests on ikakeji sprinkled gold ground
Kamakura period, 13th century
National Treasure
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
[on exhibit from February 14 to March 12, 2017]

 

 

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Part 5     Performances Dedicated to the Gods

Among the religious festivals conducted at Kasugataisha, the most well-known and popularly familiar is the Kasuga Wakamiya Onmatsuri festival, held every year on December 17th.
This part introduce works such as Bugaku and Noh dedicated to the gods.
 

Costume for Nasori
Costume for Nasori
Left: Costume for Nasori
Edo period, 17th century
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
[on exhibit from January 17 to February 12, 2017]


Right: Bugaku Mask Nasori
Heian period, 12th century
Important Cultural Property
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
 

 

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Part 6    Shikinen Zotai: Periodic Restorations of the Kasugataisha Shrine

At Kasugataisha, repair or reconstruction of the main shrine sanctuary is carried out approximately every twenty years in a ceremony known as shikinen zotai.
In this final section of the exhibition, we look back at the history of the periodic reconstructions and repairs of the Kasuga Grand Shrine through the various records related to these projects, and at the same time present various articles that originally adorned the main sanctuary and were later retired from use in conjunction with the shikinen zotai renewals.
 

Shishi and Koma-inu

Shishi Lion and Koma-inu Dog Guardians (First shrine)
Kamakura period, 13th century
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara

 

 

Dividing Walls
Dividing Walls
Dated 1975
Kasugataisha Shrine, Nara
 

 

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General Information

Period Tuesday, January 17 - Sunday, March 12, 2017
Venue Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays
Admission Adults: 1600 (1400/1300) yen
University students: 1200 (1000/900) yen
High school students: 900 (700/600) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free 
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate advance and group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
* Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
*

Advance tickets will be on sale at the museum ticket booths (during museum opening hours excluding the last 30 minutes) and other major ticketing agencies from October 1, 2016  to January 16, 2017.

Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizers Tokyo National Museum, Kasugataisha shrine, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc., The Yomiuri Shimbun
Audio Guide  Audio guide (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean) is available for 520 yen
With the Sponsorship of Okamura Printing Industries Co., Ltd.
General Inquiries 03-5777-8600  (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Website http://kasuga2017.jp (In Japanese)
The website has closed with the end of the exhibition.

 

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