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Special Feature: National Treasure from Chuguji
Seated Bosatsu (Bodhisattva)


    March 8, 2005 (Tue) - April 17, 2005 (Sun)

    Sololy exhibiting Seated Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) from the Chuguji temple in Nara, a masterpiece that has been loved for many years with the beautiful yet mysterious smile.

 General Information
Period Tuesday, March 8 - Sunday, April 17, 2005
Venue Roon T5, Honkan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
- 20:00 on Friday in April;
- 18:00 on Saturdays and Sundays in April (Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays (Except for Monday, March 21; closed Tuesday, March 22 instead)
Admissions Adult 600 (400)yen, Student 300 (200)yen
Jr. High & Elementary School Students: Free
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate group (more than 20 persons) tickets.
* Persons with a disability are allowed free entry with one companion. Valid identification requested upon entry.
Set Discount Tickets for the two exhibitions "National Treasures from Chuguji - Sacred Bosatsu" and "Masterpieces of the Museum Island, Berlin - Visions of the Divine in the Sanctuary of Art"
Buy tickets for both exhibitions together at advanced discount prices.
Adults: 1,500yen; students 1,100yen
On sale from March 8 (Tue.), 2005 - April 3 (Sun.), 2005

At the ticket booth of the Tokyo National Museum's Main Gate
Buy tickets for both exhibitions together at discount prices.
Adults: 1,600yen; students 1,200yen
On sale from April 5 (Tue.), 2005 - April 17 (Sun.), 2005

At the ticket booth of the Tokyo National Museum's Main Gate
Access 10 minutes walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes walk from Keisei Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Nezu Station
Organizers Tokyo National Museum, Chuguji
Exhibition lighting supported by Yamagiwa Corporation, Color Kinetics Japan Incorporated
General Inquiries +81-3-3822-1111
 Related lecture(in Japanese only)
Commemorative lecture
 "The History and Culture of Ikaruga Gosho Chuguji"
by Hinonishi Koson (Head Priest, Chuguji)
Auditorium, Heiseikan
Saturday, April 2, 2005 at 13:30 - 15:00
 Other Exhibitions
The Dancing Satyr
Hyokeikan, Saturday, February 19, 2005 - Sunday, March 13, 2005
Masterpieces of the Museum Island, Berlin  -Visions of the Divine in the Sanctuary of Art
Heiseikan, Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - Sunday, June 12, 2005
Features of interest:
This youthful statue of a seated Bodhisattva with one pendent leg was created according to the methods of yosegi-zukuri, which is a technique of combining several wood parts to create one whole figure. As such, it is the oldest extant statue in the world. The invention of this technique enabled delicate expressions that were impossible to achieve before, when single blocks carving (ichiboku-zukuri) was the mainstream. The monks who carved this statue thus achieved the creation of an ideal beauty. The statue is also a technical achievement of a grand scale, considering that the yosegi-zukuri technique was not widely employed in the field of Buddhist art until 300 years later. This is a masterpiece, which was truly ahead of its time.

1 Face and hand gesture
The posture suggests deep contemplation, with one hand on the cheek only slightly touching the cheek. The faint smile playing around the lips is a proto-typical form of the "archaic smile". Such exquisite hand gesture as displayed by this statue is an expression that only became possible by the yosegi-zukuri technique.

2 Clothing
The Bodhisattva is wearing a skirt-like garment wrapped around the lower body, called mo in Japanese. The stylized pattern of this skirt hem, draping over the pedestal in many soft layers, is typical for the Asuka period.

The base surrounding the pedestal, on which the Bodhisattva is seated, is by shaped like a flower turned upside down (kaeribana). The whole statue is proportioned so well that it fits perfectly within a conical shape connecting which connects the tip of the base petal with the top of the Bodhisattva's head.
Seated Bodhisattva with One Leg Pendent 3 Nimbus (kohai)
The nimbus behind the statue, kohai in Japanese, is another remarkable detail made of a single piece of camphor tree (cinnamomum camphora, kusunoki in Japanese). The central motif is a blossoming lotus flower surrounded by lotus leafs and small Buddhas on the outer most rim, with clouds emanating in-between.

4 Hair Style
The Bodhisattva wears his hair in plaits; two hair dots are tied on top of its head, whilst the long hair hanging over the shoulder is curled at the end. This hairstyle was popular at the time of its production, and is called warabite, after the curling tips of a young fern plant.

5 Posture
The posture of the so-called "one leg pendent" is a seated posture with one foot resting on the other knee. The left elbow is angled with the hand pulling the ankle close to the body. This movement is vividly captured.

6 Left leg
The left leg is positioned higher than it is usually the case with statues with one leg pendent, whilst the toes slightly point upwards. The moment of the foot just being set on the ground was captured here.

Another outstanding feature is the back of this figure
The straight spine and smooth back form ideal physical proportions, a tradition of beauty unbroken throughout the centuries and still discernible to the modern eye. This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view the statue up close that is one of the foremost examples of Japanese sculptural treasures.