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71st Annual Exhibition of Shoso-in Treasures

Art

71st Annual Exhibition of Shoso-in Treasures

From Saturday, October 26 until Thursday, November 14, the 71st Annual Exhibition of Shoso-in Treasures will be held at the Nara National Museum in commemoration of the enthronement of the new Emperor, with special support from Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

This year’s Shoso-in exhibition will be held for three days longer than past exhibitions in celebration of this special occasion, and will last 20 days in total. A selection of 41 objects will be on display—Shoso-in treasures conveying histories of cultural exchange across the Silk Road.

It will be the first time in 20 years that the whole six-panel folding screen of Torige Ritsujo-no-Byobu (with bird feathers decorating the painting of a lady under a tree) will be displayed, which depicts a beautiful woman dressed in the Tang style. The name derives from the Yamadori mountain bird feather brocade that was used for the trees and clothing parts. It is a masterpiece representative of the Tang Culture.

The Red-Lacquered Keyaki Cabinet with Fine-Grain Pattern that has been passed down for generations since Emperor Tenmu’s times will also be on display. Among the pieces likely draw high attention is the treasured largest silver platter in Shoso-in, the Kingin-no-Kaban. It is a silver flower-shaped platter with a deer at its core, and ornamented with glass balls hanging around the rim.

The treasures of Shoso-in started when the Emperor Shomu passed away and Empress Komyo offered the late emperor’s beloved items to the Great Buddha in Nara’s Todaiji Temple. A shoso in ancient times served as a warehouse repository and Shoso-in was one of these. Currently, this is the only remaining shoso at Todaiji Temple, and measures 33 meters in length, and 14 meters in height. The treasures were housed in large hitsu cabinets made of cedarwood and the humidity levels were strictly monitored. With the start of the Meiji era in the late 19th century, the Shoso-in was placed under the protection and administration of the Imperial Household Agency and the Meiji government. In 1955, the treasures were moved to a reinforced concrete storehouse where they have remained ever since.

Oct 26–Nov 14 • Nara National Museum

Open: Daily from 9am–6pm (Open until 8pm Fri, Sat, Sun & national holidays. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.) • Admission: ¥1,100 for adults; ¥700 for high-school and university students; ¥400 for elementary and junior-high-school students. Prices are reduced by ¥100 for advance tickets (on sale until Oct 25) or for groups of at least 20. Admission is FREE on Nov 14. “Autumn late” discount tickets to visit the museum 90 minutes before closing can be purchased 2.5 hours before it closing time. They are priced at ¥800, ¥500, and ¥200, respectively. An advance pair of tickets for an adult visiting with a child of elementary or junior-high-school age costs ¥1,100 • Tel: 050-5542-8600 • www.narahaku.go.jp/english

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