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History Lessons from the Roof Tiles of Tōdai-ji Temple

History Lessons from the Roof Tiles of Tōdai-ji Temple / Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T2   August 31, 2021 (Tue) - November 7, 2021 (Sun)

 Image of "Roof Tile with a Double-Petaled Lotus FlowerFound at Tōdai-ji Temple, Nara, Nara period, 8th century" 
Roof Tile with a Double-Petaled Lotus Flower
Found at Tōdai-ji Temple, Nara, Nara period, 8th century

Tōdai-ji Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan and is located in the ancient capital Nara. It is perhaps best known for housing a colossal statue called the "Great Buddha of Nara." In this exhibition, Tōdai-ji Temple's roof tiles are used to trace the temple's fluctuating fortunes throughout history, including its multiple reconstructions.

A storehouse on the temple grounds, called the Shōsōin Repository, is famous for protecting and passing down some of Japan's most significant cultural masterpieces. Examining the Shōsōin's roof tiles reveals that repairs were conducted in each period of Japanese history following its initial construction. These regular repairs testify to the devotion of the temple monks to preserve the Shōsōin and its priceless treasures throughout the centuries.

 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.
Roof Tile with a Double-Petaled Lotus Flower, Found at Tōdai-ji Temple, Nara, Nara period, 8th century
Roof Tile with the Inscription "Great Buddha Hall, Tōdai-ji Temple" and the Character for "A" in Siddham Script, Found at Tōdai-ji Temple, Nara, Kamakura period, 12th–13th century
Roof Tile with a Lotus Flower and the Inscription "Seven", Found at Tōdai-ji Temple, Nara, Kamakura period, 12th–13th century
Roof Tile with the Inscription "Great Buddha Hall, Tōdai-ji Temple" and the Character for "A" in Siddham Script, Used at the Great Buddha Hall, Tōdai-ji Temple, Nara, Edo period, Genroku era (1688–1704)
Roof Tile with the Inscription "Shōsōin Repository, Tōdai-ji Temple", Passed down at the Shōsōin Repository, Edo period, Tenpō era (1830–1844)
Roof Tile (Bucket-Molded), Passed down at the Shōsōin Repository, Nara period, 8th century

 

Pamphlet

History Lessons from the Roof Tiles of Tōdai-ji Temple
History Lessons from the Roof Tiles of Tōdai-ji Temple


This pamphlet is also available at the information desk in the Honkan during the exhibition period.

PDF 19.8MB)

 

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