Mon, Aug 12, 2019

TSUMUGU Project makes national treasure ‘Fugen Bosatsu’ eligible for repair

The selection committee of experts discuss the artwork to be repaired under the Tsumugu Project. (The Yomiuri Shimbun)

The TSUMUGU Project: Promoting, Restoring and Preserving the Beauty of Japan’s Art – a joint initiative among the Cultural Affairs Agency, the Imperial Household Agency and The Yomiuri Shimbun to hand down Japanese works of art – has decided on another national treasure to be repaired using revenue from exhibitions organized by the project. 

Fugen Bosatsu (Samantabhadra), a 12th-century hanging scroll that is part of the Tokyo National Museum’s collection, was chosen as the second work to be repaired under the project by a selection committee of experts on Feb. 20. 

The 12th-century “Fugen Bosatsu (Samantabhadra)” hanging scroll owned by the Tokyo National Museum

Considered one of the best Buddhist paintings from the Heian period (late eighth to late 12th century), the painting on silk depicts Fugen Bosatsu riding on a white elephant with six tusks, which comes out to protect believers of the Lotus Sutra. 

This is a gorgeous masterpiece, featuring delicate depictions, beautiful applications of color on cloth, and kirikane, a technique that creates meticulous patterns using slivers of gold leaf. 

However, the painting requires restoration work as soon as possible because some of the colored parts have come off and the silk has also deteriorated. 

The TSUMUGU Project has already chosen Raigo of Amida (Amitabha) and Twenty-five Attendants, a painting designated a national treasure that is held by Chion-in temple in Kyoto, as the first masterpiece eligible for repair under the initiative.

(From The Japan News, Feb. 23, 2019)

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