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New Year’s Greetings from the Birds

New Year’s Greetings from the Birds / Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T1 & T2   January 2, 2017 (Mon) - January 29, 2017 (Sun)

  
Cockerel and Bamboo (detail), By Luo Chuang, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)

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.
 

 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Fowl, By Soga Chokuan (dates unknown), Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Hokiin, Wakayama)
Cockerel and Bamboo, By Luo Chuang (dates unknown), Southern Song dynasty, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)
Fowl with Pine and Plum, By Ito Jakuchu, Edo period, 18th century
The Illustrated Album of Old Courtly Customs: Watching a Cockfight, Meiji era, 19th century
Flowers and Birds, By Kaiho Yusetsu, Edo period, 17th century
Bugaku Mask, Korobase type, Heian period, dated 1042 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Tamukeyama Hachimangu, Nara)
Hoken Style Sword Mounting, Paulownia, bamboo, and phoenix design in maki-e lacquer on nashiji lacquer ground, Metal fittings by Ichijo, Edo period, dated 1864
 

 

Related Events

January 2, 2017 (Mon) - January 29, 2017 (Sun)   9:30~17:00 
*The museum will be open until 20:00 on Friday and Saturday. Last entrance 30 minutes before closing.  

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