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Special Exhibition: POMPEII

  • Image of "“Beware of the dog”, 1st century, MANN©Luciano and Marco Pedicini"

    “Beware of the dog”, 1st century, MANN
    ©Luciano and Marco Pedicini

    Special Exhibition: POMPEII

    Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries : January 14, 2022 (Fri) - April 3, 2022 (Sun)

    Pompeii, a city of the Roman Empire, was swallowed by ash and pumice when Mount Vesuvius near Naples erupted violently in 79 AD. The excavation of Pompeii began in the 18th century and continues to this day. This exhibition presents masterpieces of mural painting, sculpture, and decorative arts, alongside tableware, kitchen tools, and other implements of daily life. Together, these arts and artifacts vividly illustrate life and society in this city of 2,000 years past. Through the generous cooperation of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, which is home to a vast collection of artifacts excavated from Pompeii, this will be a definitive exhibition about this iconic city of ancient Rome.

    List of Works  (1.06MB)

    Highlights of the Exhibition

    General Information

 

Highlights of the Exhibition

 

Chapter 1  The city of Pompeiii: public architecture and religion

Chapter 2  Society and the people of Pompeii

Chapter 3  Daily life in Pompeii: food and work

Chapter 4  Pompeii: narratives of prosperity

Chapter 5  Excavations, then and now

 

 

Chapter 1  The city of Pompeiii: public architecture and religion

Pompeii was a medium-sized city that occupied an area measuring 1,600 meters east to west and 800 meters north to south. Two major thoroughfares ran east to west and another from north to south. The population at the time of the eruption has been estimated at around 10,000.
An indispensable feature of life in ancient Roman cities was the well-developed infrastructure and public facilities. Pompeii’s amenities included a forum (main square), theaters, amphitheater, baths, and palaestrae. Frescoes depicting scenes in the forum and amphitheater indicate they were well patronized. Clean water was channeled through the city to fountains, public baths, and the houses of the rich.
Several temples dedicated to Roman gods, where public rituals were enacted, stood close by the forum.

 

ビキニのウェヌス
Venus in a bikini
H. 63cm

 

The statue represents Venus, the goddess of beauty, about to remove her sandal before bathing, assisted by Cupid and Priapus. Remnants of gold and other colors used for the costumes and accessories can still be seen. The figure stood beside a basin in the atrium of the residence that takes its name.

 

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Chapter 2  Society and the people of Pompeii

Wealthy citizens of Pompeii maintained residences sumptuously and elaborately decorated. For banquets, luxurious tableware was used. Household decorations and artifacts and the lifestyle that went with them indicate the importance that was attached at the time to behaving as an educated person conversant with Greek culture.
The city’s inhabitants also included many slaves. The glaring economic disparities notwithstanding, Pompeii’s class structure was not rigid; indeed, it was comparatively fluid by contemporary standards. The personal origins of the wealthy varied considerably: the family of a freedman who became rich from lending money and a woman who prospered by applying her skills in business are just two examples.

 

ブドウ摘みを表わした小アンフォラ(通称「青の壺」) Small amphora with grape-harvesting motif (the "Blue Vase")
H. 32 cm
 
The cameo glass technique featured in this amphora involved the fusing of white glass onto cobalt-blue glass. The white layer was then etched to create intricate reliefs showing cupids engaging in grape harvesting and winemaking.

 

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Chapter 3  Daily life in Pompeii: food and work

Manufacture, construction, retailing, food and beverage provision, service businesses—Pompeiians engaged in a variety of occupations. More than 600 stores and workshops have been discovered during excavations in the city. Of course, there were also many street vendors, peddlers, and manual laborers. Numerous artifacts associated with technical skills, such as tools and instruments for carpentry, mural painting, and medicine, have been recovered.
Bakeries and restaurants provided takeout food, while the houses of the wealthy were equipped with kitchens where servants could prepare luxurious meals. In addition, many businesses engaged in the processing of agricultural and marine products; wine, olive oil, and garum (fish sauce) were among the major products sent out from Pompeii.

 

Bread vendor image
Bread vendor
69×60cm
 
Charred bread image
Charred bread
Dia. 20 cm

 

Pompeii is thought to have had a round thirty bakeries; this image appears to show one at a street corner. On the other hand, some scholars believe it depicts a magistrate handing out loaves of bread to the needy or even a political candidate campaigning for office.

 

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Chapter 4  Pompeii: narratives of prosperity

Pompeii largely evolved as a city in the second century BC, at the time of the Samnites. It maintained active contacts with the Eastern Mediterranean, which led to the penetration of Hellenistic culture. In 80 BC, an ascendant Rome colonized Pompeii, from which time the society and culture were washed over by waves of Romanization.
Objects and features unearthed at notable residences tell of Pompeii’s unfolding history: in the House of the Faun, dating back to the second century BC, a decorative mosaic considered among the finest in Hellenistic art; in the House of the Citharist, frescoes from the beginning of the golden age of Roman culture; and in the House of the Tragic Poet, frescoes painted only a short time before the eruption of Vesuvius.

 

踊るファウヌス
Dancing Faun
H. 71cm

 

This emblematic statue decorated the atrium of The House of the Faun. As it is an original work surviving from the Hellenistic period, the "faun" in fact is thought to be a satyr, a companion of the Greek god of wine Dionysus. The position of the hands suggests the figure originally held a silver aulos (double flute).

 

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Chapter 5  Excavations, then and now

This chapter deals with the history of excavations from the eighteenth century down to the present day, focusing on Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Somma Vesuviana, all of which were buried by eruptions of Mount Vesuvius. In the beginning, excavations were essentially “treasure hunts” for works of art; only later did they evolve into rigorous and careful scientific investigations. Since the 1960s, the preservation of remains has become a major issue, leading to strenuous efforts by researchers and specialist curators of cultural assets to conserve and restore the buildings and unearthed artifacts.

 

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*All the artworks are in the collection of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
  Photos©Luciano and Marco Pedicini

 

 

General Information

Period January 14–April 3, 2022
Venue Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30–17:00
Closed Mondays
Admission

Reservation tickets
Adults: ¥2,100
University students: ¥1,300
High school students: ¥900
Junior high school students and under: Free

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We recommend that you purchase a timed-entry ticket online before your visit. Please check the exhibition website for details (https://pompeii2022.jp/).
Tickets may also be purchased at the ticket counter, but you may be asked to wait if the exhibition is crowded. Also, please be aware that tickets are limited and may sell out.

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Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each (please present an ID at the ticket booth).

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Special exhibition tickets are package tickets that include admission to the regular exhibitions on the date of entry. Regular Exhibitions do not require an advance reservation to enter. However, the number of visitors allowed inside the building at the same time is restricted.

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Visitors with tickets for this exhibition may also view the regular exhibitions on the day of their visit at no extra charge. The regular exhibitions do not require a timed-entry ticket. Other special exhibitions require separate admission fees and advance purchase of timed-entry tickets is recommended.

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The Saint Kūya and Rokuharamitsuji Temple (March 1–May 8, 2022) requires a separate reservation and admission fee.

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, National Archaeological Museum of Naples, The Asahi Shimbun, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc.,
With the Special
Sponsorship of
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.
With the Sponsorship of Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd., Toppan Inc., TAKENAKA CORPORATION
With the Support of The Embassy of Italy in Japan
Catalog The exhibition catalog (2,900 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://pompeii2022.jp/