Tue, Mar 3, 2020

SPECIAL FEATURE: TSUMUGU Project’s exhibition lineup for fiscal 2020 (April – )

Japan’s national treasures, performing arts, craft, architecture...

National treasure Eleven-headed Kannon
Nara period, 8th century
(Shorinji temple, Nara)

The Tsumugu Project, a joint effort of two government agencies — Agency for Cultural Affairs and Imperial Household Agency — and national daily The Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo), will organize this fiscal year (starting this April) five major exhibitions that showcase the quintessence of Japanese traditional culture. In June, the project will hold a special exhibition featuring the Eleven-headed Kannon of Shorinji temple (Nara) at the Tokyo National Museum. The registered national treasure is going to be put on display outside Nara for the very first time, making it a rare and excellent opportunity for artlovers in an around Tokyo to take an intimate look at one of Japan’s finest Buddhist sculptures.

The project will also organize exhibitions featuring masterworks closely associated with Kyoto and treasures of the Imperial family, as well as craftwork by “living national treasures” (holders of important intangible cultural properties) and models of traditional architecture. A special event allowing visitors to experience kabuki, bunraku, noh and other forms of traditional performing arts is also on our menu.

“Kyoto National Treasure: To Protect and Convey Japanese Treasure” is set to open at the end of April in Kyoto. The special exhibition will not only showcase the national treasures of Kyoto, but will also spotlight techniques and material employed by Japanese conservators in their efforts to help preserve Japan’s cultural legacies.

The Tsumugu Project will use part of the proceeds from the exhibitions and events to help repair and restore Japan’s national treasures and important cultural properties.

*Exhibitions and related events may be rescheduled to help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infections. Please check the official websites listed below and other sources for the latest information.

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Special Exhibition
Experience it! Traditional Japanese Performing Arts

Four great actors in Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami
Nishiki-e by Kunichika Toyohara
1894 (National Theatre, Tokyo)
A bunraku puppet head of a young woman

Schedule: The exhibition was initially set for March 10 – May 24, but has been postponed. Please wait for further notice.
Venue: Tokyo National Museum (Ueno, Tokyo)
This exhibition, which will be held as a part of Nihonhaku (Japan Cultural Expo), will feature the five traditional performing arts of Japan that are listed as UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage, i.e., kabuki, bunraku, nogaku (noh and kyogen), gagaku and kumiodori. Various costumes, decorations, musical instruments, props used on stage will be put on display, and visitors will be given the chance to interact with professional performers and artisans through demonstrations, workshops and talk sessions at the exhibition hall to get a better feel of what the world of Japanese traditional performing arts is actually like.

Official website: https://tsumugu.yomiuri.co.jp/dentou2020/en.html

Special Exhibition Kyoto National Treasure:
To Protect and Convey Japanese Treasure

Mido Kanpaku-ki (Diary of Fujiwara no Michinaga)
National treasure; Heian period
(Yomei Bunko Foundation, Kyoto)
Tachi Sword by Hisakuni
National treasure; Kamakura period, 13th century
(Agency for Cultural Affairs)

Schedule: April 28 – June 21
Venue: Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art
The exhibition will feature national treasures associated with Kyoto and treasures of the Imperial family that are closely related to Kyoto. It has been selected as one of the programs for the government-hosted Nihonhaku (Japan Cultural Expo). One of the highlights of the exhibition will be the “Seated Statue of Bon-ten [Brahma],” designated as a national treasure and owned by Toji temple in Kyoto. The temple is associated with the Buddhist monk Kukai. The “Tenmoku Tea Bowl with Tortoise Shell Pattern,” a national treasure owned by Shokokuji temple in Kyoto, will also be a must-see. Thirty-seven national treasures will be displayed as part of a total of 43 works including paintings, sculptures, handicrafts and calligraphy.

Special Exhibition Sacred Treasures from Ancient Nara:
The Eleven-Headed Kannon of Shorinji

National treasure Eleven-headed Kannon
Nara period, 8th century
(Shorinji temple, Nara)

Schedule: June 16 – August 31
Venue: Tokyo National Museum (Ueno, Tokyo)
The famous Eleven-headed Kannon, a national treasure, will be put on display out of Nara for the first time. The Buddhist statue created in the eighth century is regarded as one of the pinnacles of Japanese sculpture and is housed at Shorinji temple in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture. The exhibition will feature about 30 treasured works, including the Jizo Bosatsu statue, a national treasure from Horyuji temple in Nara Prefecture. The art show has also been selected as a program of Nihonhaku (Japan Cultural Expo) led by the government.

Official website: https://tsumugu.yomiuri.co.jp/shorinji2020/
(Currently only in Japanese)

Special Exhibition Craftwork 2020 (tent.)

Hexagonal covered box with Daimyo oak leaf design in makie and mother-of-pearl inlay
Kazumi Murose
A metal work by Fuminori Haruyama

Schedule: October 6 – November 29
Venue: Tokyo National Museum (Ueno, Tokyo)
The exhibition will feature Japan’s 82 well known craft artists, including “living national treasures” (holders of important intangible cultural properties) and members of The Japan Art Academy, and their finest work. Ceramics, textiles, lacquerware, metal work, bamboo craft, dolls and all other categories of the art will be represented to give visitors a comprehensive view of Japanese craftsmanship, or the formative art of pursuing beauty with a view on nature.

Special Exhibition Japanese Architecture (tent.)

A model of national treasure Eihoji Kaisando, an architecture from the Muromachi period
(State owned)
A model of the Kyoto branch of The Mitsui Bank in the third year of the Taisho era
(Architectural Institute of Japan)

Schedule: November 2020 – February 2021 (tentative)
Venue: National Museum of Nature and Science (Ueno, Tokyo), Tokyo National Museum (Ueno, Tokyo), National Archives of Modern Architecture (Yushima, Tokyo)
The exhibition aims to provide an overview of Japanese architecure by displaying detailed models of quintessential architectural products — made of wood, earth, stone and other natural materials — from the ancient times to this day.

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