New Year's Celebration at the Tokyo National Museum: Year of the Ox
Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Rooms T1 & T2 : January 2, 2021 (Sat) - January 31, 2021 (Sun)
The year 2021 is the year of the ox(*) according to the Chinese zodiac, a system adopted in Japan along with the lunar calendar. The history of the ox is closely intertwined with that of humanity, working side-by-side to cultivate fields for thousands of years. Though perhaps best known as plough animals, oxen also held religious significance as the steeds of deities—a belief that started in India and spread throughout Asia.
In Japan, nobility rode in splendid ox-drawn carriages during the Heian period (794–1192), causing later generations to look on them fondly as a symbol of a golden age.
This exhibition presents works from several cultures across Asia, reflecting the diverse representations of the ox throughout history.
* Though traditionally translated as "year of the ox," the original Chinese character has a broader meaning that includes water buffalo, which are also included in this exhibition.