Asian Gallery (Toyokan) Room 8
August 30, 2016 (Tue) - October 23, 2016 (Sun)
High quality manuscript books were imported from China to Japan during the Nara through to the Heian period (8th to 12th century). The original significance of many of these books were forgotten, and the reverse sides of their paper were reused for other purposes. Consequently, those with important records on the reverse sides were passed down to the present day.
From the Heian to the Kamakura period (12th to 16th century), many Zen monks traveled to China for religious training. They brought back writings of prominent priests, which were prized as bokuseki, while many other objects were gifted to Japan through further exchanges. These include masterpieces from Song and Yuan China that relevant examples rarely remain today, even in their home country.
Furthermore, the Meiji era in the late 19th century saw the appearance of renowned connoisseurs who held their ideals in literati tastes in Chinese tradition, and brought fine artworks that were passed down in China to Japan. These painting and calligraphy works, appreciated under a unique Japanese aesthetic, came to form a collection with features original to Japan.
This thematic exhibition introduces notable works of Chinese painting and calligraphy from the Tokyo National Museum collection, along with textile works from the Shanghai Museum with pictorial features. In China it was customary to enjoy tapestries with sources from painting and calligraphy. For example, the tapestry with immortal design was modelled on a work from the Qing emperor Qianlong’s collection, and the flowers and birds tapestry was weaved based on a mid- Qing dynasty painting by Li Shan. We hope visitors enjoy the profound world of calligraphic and pictorial representations.