Future National Treasures: Masterpieces of Painting and Calligraphy from the Museum Collection
Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 2 : June 7, 2022 (Tue) - July 3, 2022 (Sun)
Tokyo National Museum is celebrating its 150th anniversary. During its long history, the Museum accumulated an extensive collection, including many artworks of great artistic or historical value. Not all these works, however, are designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. From among these works, our curators have selected what they consider "Future National Treasures" for display in this gallery in 2022.
Kasuga Shrine Mandala
Kamakura period, 13th century
This painting depicts one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines, Kasuga Taisha in Nara, with sacred mountains towering above. Many noblemen and noblewomen worshipped at this sanctuary, as it enshrines the guardian spirits of the Fujiwara clan, once the leading noble family of Japan.
Looking closely, we see cherry trees in full bloom and vegetation with fresh, green leaves—a place so rich in natural beauty it suggests the presence of sacred spirits. Roaming the grounds are deer, considered the messengers of the gods. As faith in the gods of Kasuga Shrine rose, so did the production of paintings like this, which people displayed to conduct worship and renew their faith.