Past Exhibitions

Going Ape for the Year of the Monkey Part 1: Monkeys, Gods, and Buddhas
December 15, 2015 - January 24, 2016

As humans' closest animal relatives, monkeys have been revered in Japan since ancient times as sacred beings bridging the gap between people and gods. Japanese macaques (nihonzaru) are native to all parts of the archipelago except Hokkaido and Okinawa, and were a familiar presence in the surrounding environment, making it only natural that they would find a place in the Japanese people's indigenous faith. In Buddhism, as well, which was transmitted to Japan from the Asian mainland, there are more than a few examples of monkeys being portrayed as guardians of Buddhist teachings and the clergy. This section presents works related to the sacred realm, which depict monkeys in this role, interacting with Shinto and Buddhist deities.

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