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The Tenjukoku Shucho Mandara and the Statue of Prince Shotoku

The Tenjukoku Shucho Mandara and the Statue of Prince Shotoku / The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures Room 6   March 14, 2006 (Tue) - April 9, 2006 (Sun)


A Special feature of the Tenjukoku Shucho mandara(National Treasure) and other works related to prince Shotoku.

 General Information
Period Tuesday, March 14 - Sunday, April 9, 2006
Venue Roon 6, The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
- 20:00 on the following Fridays; March 31 and April 7, 2006
- 18:00 on Saturdays and Sundays in April (Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays
Admissions Free with regular museum admission fee
Adult 420 (210) yen, University Student 130 (70) yen
High school, junior high school and elementary school students: Free
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate group (more than 20 persons) tickets.
* Disabled persons are admitted free, with one companion. Valid identification requested upon entry.
* Persons over 65 are allowed free entry. Proof of age (driver's license, passport, etc.) requested upon entry.
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 Nezu Station
Organizers Tokyo National Museum, Horyuji Temple, Chuguji Temple
General Inquiries +81-3-3822-1111
 Related lecture (in Japanese)

Lecture series
 "Arts Related to Prince Shotoku"
Auditorium, Heiseikan
Friday, March 17 - Sunday, March 19, 2006  (application has closed )
 Other Exhibitions
Faith and Syncretism: Saicho and the Treasures of Tendai
Heiseikan, Tuesday, March 28 - Sunday, May 7, 2006
 About the Tenjukoku Shucho Mandara
Tenjukoku Shucho Mandara
Tenjukoku Shucho Mandara, Asuka period, 7th century (Chuguji, Nara, National Treasure)
The Tenjukoku Shucho, originally made in the Asuka period (early 7th century), is the oldest existing example of Japanese embroidery, apart from excavated objects. In the Edo period, remains from the original embroidery and parts of its replica made during the late Kamakura period (late 13th century) were gathered into the present form. Amazingly, the parts retaining the brighter colors are from the original.

The tortoises in the Shucho have 4 kanji characters embroidered in each. Originally, there were 100 tortoises, or 400 kanji characters. "Jogu Shotoku Houou Teisetsu" records the full text which tells that when Prince Shotoku died in 622 (Suiko 30), the prince's wife Tachibana no Ooiratsume asked permission of Empress Suiko and ordered the maids in the imperial court to embroider the scenes of Tenjukoku, or heavenly land, where the prince was believed to have gone after his death.

It is said that the rough sketches were drawn by a descendant of immigrants who introduced Chinese and Korean culture to Japan. The outlines of the motifs in strongly twisted thread and the elaborate stitches inside the outlines very well represent the characteristics of Asuka period embroidery.

Asuka period (rabbit)

Asuka period (tortoise)

Kamakura period (tortoise)
The tortoises have 4 kanji characters embroidered in each. There were originally 100 of them, or 400 kanji characters. The brighter is from the Asuka period, and the damaged is from the Kamakura period.
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