Special Exhibition Celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the Nara National Museum

Standing Shō Kanzeon bosatsu (Sk. Arya Avalokiteśvara) Yakushiji temple, Nara

Standing Shō Kanzeon bosatsu (Sk. Arya Avalokiteśvara)
Yakushiji temple, Nara

Hakuhō, The First Full Flowering of Buddhist Art in Japan

Hakuhō is a term that refers to the period that extends from the latter half of the seventh century until the year 710, when the capital was moved to Heijōkyō (present-day Nara). The word has been used since pre-war times in the fields of art history and archaeology to distinguish these years as a distinct historical era. Following the period of the Taika Reforms, a new kind of state was established in Japan as legal codes were gradually instituted and the first full-fledged capital, Fujiwarakyō, was constructed. The number of Buddhist temples increased dramatically, and highly ornamented temple precincts were built in every region of the country as well as in Fujiwarakyō and its immediate environs. The many extant gilt-bronze Buddhist icons, repoussé Buddhist images, and works of the applied arts, such as tiles, that were created during the period allow us to sense the vigor and fervor devoted to building Buddhist temples and creating icons. Hakuhō is an era situated between the early-Asuka period and the Nara period, but its art holds a charm unlike that of the other two. Hakuhō Buddhist sculpture, in particular, overflows with a youthful freshness and a touching beauty that can be seen in works that have charm evoking a childish innocence. Additionally, even a cursory look at a single roof tile from a Hakuhō-period temple reveals an extremely refined sense of design and provides a feel for the high level of artistic attainment in Hakuhō culture. It was as if in the roughly one hundred years since the importation of Buddhism, the great tree of Buddhist art, which had firmly taken root in the soil of Japan, blossomed all at once, filling the air with fresh new spirit. In recent years, opportunities for use of the word Hakuhō have decreased, and the evaluations of artistic styles remain fluid. However, we feel confident that visitors will learn through this exhibition that Hakuhō was in fact an age that produced a uniquely characteristic culture, unlike that of the early-Asuka period or the Nara period. This exhibition, which commemorates the 120th anniversary of the opening of Nara National Museum, displays in a single venue an unprecedented number of approximately 150 works representative of the artists and artisans as well as the archaeological artifacts of the Hakuhō period. We will be delighted if this exhibition provides an opportunity for the re-discovery of the charm of Hakuhō. In conclusion, on the occasion of the opening of this exhibition, we wish to express our deepest gratitude to those who provided valuable treasures for display and to all whose cooperation made the exhibition possible.
◆Period
July 18 (Sat.) – September 23 (Wed.), 2015

◆Site
New wing of the Nara National Museum

◆Closed
Mondays (with the exception of July 20, August 10, and September 21) and July 21

◆Open hours
9:30 AM-6:00 PM (last admission 5:30 pm)

◆Special extended hours
On Fridays and August 5 -15, open until 7:00 pm (last admission 6:30 pm)
◆Admission
Individual Group Advance Ticket
General Admission ¥1,500 ¥1,200 ¥1,300
College/ High School Students ¥1,000 ¥700 ¥800
Junior High/ Elementary School Students ¥500 ¥300 ¥300
Campus members ¥400
* A group must consist of at least 20 people led by a group leader.
* Free of charge entry to disabled certificate holders and an accompanying caretaker (upon presenting the certificate).
* Advance Tickets can be purchased at below. Available from June 1 (Mon.) until July 17 (Fri.).
Ticket counter of Nara National Museum , Kintetsu Travel Information Desk , Kinki Nippon Tourist , JR TOKAI TOURS , JTB, NIPPON TRAVEL AGENCY CO.,LTD , Ticket PIA [P-Code 766-832] , Lawson Ticket [L-Code 58263] , Seven-Elevn Ticket, Community Network Play Guide , E-Plus.
◆Works on display
150 works
* National Treasure : 15 works
* Important Cultural Property : 70 works
See some works (Japanese page)
◆Lecture
*Japanese page (here)
◆Organizers
Nara National Museum, The Yomiuri Shimbun, NHK Nara Broadcasting Station, NHK Planet Kinki
◆Additional Supporters
Agency of Cultural Affairs, Nara Prefecture, NARA TELEVISION CO., LTD.
◆Corporate Sponsors
Kansai University, Kinden Corporation, SHIMIZU CORPORATION, Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd., DAIWABO INFORMATION SYSTEM CO., LTD., Tenri Jihosha, Non-Destructive Inspection Co., Ltd.
◆In cooperation with: Nippon Kōdō Co., Ltd., Bukkyō Bijutsu Kyōkai (Buddhist Art Foundation)

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