Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T1
September 11, 2007 (Tue) - October 8, 2007 (Mon)
After the end of the Kamakura period in the early 13th century, many artworks were brought to Japan along with Zen Buddhism from China. These Chinese artworks were appreciated with Japan's unique aesthetic sense. Interior decorations or tools for the tea ceremony were made to be appreciated; they were not simply Chinese artworks, but a whole new style that came to be known as karamono.
The important collection known as Higashiyama Gomotsu contains karamono items that are said to have belonged to Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and Ashikaga Yoshimasa of the Ashikaga Shogunate(1336-1573). The triptych Sakyamuni Leaving the Mountain and two Snowy Landscapes by Liang Kai were part of the Higashiyama Gomotsu collection. The triptych was mounted as a set of three hanging scrolls using gold brocade after they were imported to Japan. After the Ashikaga shogun, it was owned by the Sakai family of Wakasa province. Eventually Snowy Landscape came into the possession of the Mitsui family, while Sakyamuni and the other landscape were moved to Honganji temple. However, they left the temple and were eventually acquired by separate owners. The museum acquired the National Treasure Snowy Landscapes in 1948, Sakyamuni in 1997, and Snowy Landscapes in 2004. After many years the three scrolls were put together in the original form from the Higashiyama collection. Last spring, the three paintings were designated "National Treasure" by the government as a triptych.
This special thematic exhibition "Karamono - Imported Chinese Artworks" was organized to commemorate this occasion. The display features the triptych by Liang Kai, a long with Summer Landscape (Kuonji) attributed to Hu Zhifu, Monkey attributed to Mao Song, as well as Celadon Glazed Tea Bowl known as Bakohan and Celadon Glazed Vase in the Shimokabura (globular body with long neck) Form (Arc-en-ciel Foundation).