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NATIONAL TREASURE: FROLICKING ANIMALS

NATIONAL TREASURE: FROLICKING ANIMALS / Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries   April 13, 2021 (Tue) - June 20, 2021 (Sun)

 Image of "Frolicking Animals, Volume 1 (detail), Heian period, 12th century (Kosan-ji, Kyoto)" 
Frolicking Animals, Volume 1 (detail), Heian period, 12th century (Kosan-ji, Kyoto)

The National Treasure "Frolicking Animals" is one of the most famous works in the history of Japanese painting. It depicts the activities of anthropomorphized animals and people in energetic monochrome ink lines. All scenes from all four volumes of "Frolicking Animals" will be on view during the exhibition period. They will be displayed alongside fragments separated from the main scrolls and copies of scenes now lost to the originals. The exhibition also features selected treasures from Kosan-ji’s collection, including the Important Cultural Property Seated Sculpture of Priest Myoe, an image usually off limits to the public. These convey the allure of Myoe and Kosan-ji.

 

Timed-entry tickets (timed tickets)
With regard to the updated ticketing and entry procedures for the Special Exhibition “NATIONAL TREASURE: FROLICKING ANIMALS,” please check its official exhibition website (available in Japanese only).

 

List of Works (4MB)

Highlights of the Exhibition

General Information

 

Highlights of the Exhibition

 

Chapter 1: The National Treasure: Frolicking Animals in its entirety

Chapter 2: Recreating lost scenes through fragments and copies

Chapter 3: Priest Myoe and Kosan-ji Temple

 

 

 

Chapter 1: The National Treasure: Frolicking Animals in its entirety

Frolicking Animals, Volume 1 (detail)
Heian period, 12th century (Kosan-ji, Kyoto)

Volume One features vivid depictions of 11 species of animals, including rabbits, monkeys and frogs. Each animal is efficiently performing a distinctive role within the world of the handscroll. From the different drawing styles and animal expressions, it seems the former and the latter sections of the scroll were produced by different people.

 

Frolicking Animals, Volume 2 (detail)
Heian period, 12th century (Kosan-ji, Kyoto)

Volume Two is like an illustrated encyclopedia of animals. It features 16 different kinds of animals, though none of these are anthropomorphized like in Volume One. The first section features cows, hawks, chickens, dogs and other animals native to Japan, while the second section features animals not found in Japan, such as tigers and elephants, as well as imaginary beasts such as qilin, dragons and baku (mythological animals resembling tapirs).

 

Frolicking Animals, Volume 3 (detail)
Heian–Kamakura period, 12th–13th century (Kosan-ji, Kyoto)

The first half of Volume Three features frolicking humans and the second half frolicking animals. This album was retouched with thicker ink lines at a later date, but the original lines can still be seen within. They reveal extremely accurate portrayals rendered in precise, flowing brushstrokes. This volume features elements common to other illustrated scrolls from the Heian period, so its production could well date back to that time.

 

Frolicking Animals, Volume 4 (detail)
Kamakura period, 13th century (Kosan-ji, Kyoto)

Volume 4 mainly features human characters. Several depictions are based on motifs from Volumes One and Three, though the humans are bigger, the lines thicker and the ink lighter compared to the other three volumes. A high level of craftsmanship is apparent in the expansive feel of the speedily-drawn, precise brushwork.

 

 

Chapter 2: Recreating lost scenes through fragments and copies

Frolicking Animals, Fragment (Tokyo National Museum version)
Heian period, 12th century (Tokyo National Museum)

 

 

Chapter 3: Priest Myoe and Kosan-ji Temple

 

Seated Sculpture of Priest Myoe
Kamakura period, 13th century
(Tokyo National Museum)

 

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General Information

Period
April 13–June 20, 2021
*Temporarily closed. Resumption date undecided.
Venue Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 8:30–20:00 (Last entry 60 minutes before closing)
*The regular exhibitions are open untill 17:00
Closed
Admission Adults: 2,000 yen
University students: 1,200 yen
High school students: 900 yen
Junior high school students and under: Free
* Reservations required.
* Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each (please present an ID at the ticket booth).
* The ticket for the special exhibition National Treasure: Frolicking Animals includes admission to the regular exhibitions on the day of entry. The regular exhibitions close at 5:00 p.m. Please be aware that it is not possible to view the regular exhibitions after 5:00 p.m.
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, Kosan-ji, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc., The Asahi Shimbun
With the Support of KAJIMA CORPORATION, Sompo Japan Insurance Inc.,
Toppan Printing CO., LTD., MITSUI & CO., LTD.
Catalog, Audio guide The exhibition catalog (3,000 yen) is available at the Heiseikan Special Exhibition Shop and at the museum shop in Honkan (Japanese Gallery). Audio guide (In Japanese) is available for 600 yen.
General Inquiries 050-5541-8600  (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Website https://chojugiga2020.exhibit.jp/english.html

 

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