All tagged Tokyo National Museum

To-ji Temple: Kukai and the Sculpture Mandala

Even the title in English is a bit confusing to us non-Japanese -- where is the To-ji temple? What/who (it’s a who) is Kukai? Mandalas, they’re normally seen on paper or in powder form but as sculptures? This exhibition is an opportunity to see some of Japan’s most cherished National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. Almost all of the objects are from the To-ji Temple, which was built almost 1200 years ago in the then newly established capital of Kyoto. The exhibition tells the story of Kukai, the Japanese priest who had recently returned from China and established To-ji as the center of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. Kukai brought mandalas to Japan and he is believed to have arranged the statues in the sculpture mandala in To-ji’s lecture hall. The exhibition includes many statues, two dimensional mandalas, various ceremonial objects, and papers and ends with the The World of Mandalas, large room filled with incredible Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Wisdom Kings, and Devas.

Marcel Duchamp and Japanese Art

Over 150 pieces from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art provide a retrospective of the work of Marcel Duchamp. Highlights include early portraits, cubism paintings (including Nude Descending a Staircase), readymades (including Bicycle Wheel and Fountain), a replica of The Large Glass, and photographs. The exhibition outlines the artist’s travels, his female persona (Rrose Sélavy), his passion for chess, his production of replicas of his work, and his final work Étant donnés. The exhibition ends with about 10 pieces of Japanese art, which are presented through the lens of Duchamp’s readymades and reproductions.

Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia

Looking for something different? This exhibition offers the opportunity to see the land of Arabia from over a million years ago (!) through to present day. Recent archeology uncovered artifacts from prehistoric pre-Islam Arabia provide information about the area’s history and culture. The collection includes tools, pottery, jewelry, sculptures, frescos, incense burners and much more. 

The Living Treasures of France

Flowers made out of feathers, textiles that look like origami, fans that resemble pop-up books are just some of the treasures found in this exhibition. Made by France’s master craftspeople who are designated Maître d' Art, modeled after Japan’s Living National Treasure certification, these silver, leather, tortoiseshell, and glass works preserve traditional methods and highlight creative innovation.