New Year’s Greetings from the Birds
Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Rooms T1 & T2 : January 2, 2017 (Mon) - January 29, 2017 (Sun)
We wish you all a Happy New Year! Every year the Tokyo National Museum holds a thematic exhibition associated with the New Year. With this year being the Year of the Rooster, or the Year of the Bird, according to the Chinese zodiac, this exhibition showcases artworks featuring birds under the two themes of “Birds of Dawn” and “Birds of Celebration.”
The Chinese zodiac was introduced to Japan, with each year in a 12-year cycle represented by a different animal. The lineup of the animals is as follows in this order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.
The first theme, “Birds of Dawn,” highlights roosters. The bird of the Chinese zodiac usually takes the form of a rooster. Roosters, which report daybreak, have been domestic fowl familiar to people since long ago, while they have also been seen in pastimes involving roosters such as cockfights. The exhibits in this section include works featuring roosters as motifs as well as those showing the relationship between roosters and people.
The second theme, “Birds of Celebration,” presents birds that bring happiness. The birds featured in these artworks include those with auspicious associations, such as hawks, peacocks, cranes, herons, and mandarin ducks, as well as imaginary birds that also bring good fortune such as phoenixes and garudas.
Visitors are invited to view this great variety of birds in a range of artworks in celebration of the New Year.