Theater Programs

National Treasure: "Sakyamuni Rising from the Golden Coffin"
A Miraculous Moment of Amazement and Joy

Shakamuni Rising from the Golden Coffin is a masterwork of Heian-period Buddhist painting that depicts a little-known legendary miracle of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. This ultra high-definition video reveals the distinctive composition, rich colors, delicate cut gold leaf, reverse-applied pigments, and other sophisticated aspects of this National Treasure painting. Using meticulous research and the latest digital reproduction technology, it also revives the painting’s lost pigments and ink strokes in order to reimagine its original appearance.

Wonder of "View of Ama-no-hashidate"
Superb View by Sesshu

View of Amanohashidate is one of the masterworks of Sesshu Toyo (1420-1506), considered by many to be the greatest ink painter of medieval Japan. This National Treasure painting depicts the famous peninsula of Amanohashidate from a birds-eye viewpoint a thousand meters in the air. In this video, the temples, shrines, and ruins shown in the painting are compared with imagery of structures surviving today, combined with actual aerial footage of Amanohashidate. Ultra high-resolution camerawork allows us to immerse ourselves in this extraordinary painting and revel up close in its composition and brushwork.

Fujiwara Clan's Sutra Container and Sutra Case
The Pray and Splendor of Heian Aristocracy

This video delves into the historical and artistic significance of three National Treasure-designated sutra receptacles unearthed from the temple complex at Kinpusen, in Yoshino, Nara prefecture. The gilt bronze sutra container and two gold and silver-decorated bronze sutra boxes--one with paired birds and another with Buddhist flowers--originally held sutras that were buried as votive offerings by Fujiwara Michinaga (966-1028), once the most powerful regent in Japan, during a pilgrimage to the sacred mountain site. Through footage of present day Kinpusen and Enryaku-ji on Mt. Hiei, as well documentary evidence provided by Michinaga's diary Mido Kanpaku ki, we discover the historical and artistic significance of these National Treasures. Close up views of the inscriptions and the designs inscribed into these vessels give us a sense of the aspirations of their patron as well as the Pure Land adoration that was so prevalent in the culture of the Heian court.

Kyoto Kimono
Beauty and Craftsmanship Developed by the Inhabitants of Kyoto

Kyoto has long been Japan's center for the various industries used in kimono production, including weaving, dyeing, embroidery, and gold leaf application. This video introduces the advanced techniques used by contemporary textile artists and artisans in Nishijin and other areas of Kyoto. The ultra high-resolution imagery reveals details about these fabrics that would be hard to see with the naked eye, including the fibers' textures and the intricate, sophisticated artistry with which they are produced.

A Revived Landscape
The Sliding Door Panel Paintings of Daisen-in Temple

One of the temple-owned masterworks entrusted to the Kyoto National Museum is a set of thirty-two ink-painted sliding door panels (fusuma) from the subtemple of Daisen-in, part of the Kyoto Zen complex of Daitoku-ji. In later years, these paintings were removed from their door panels and remounted as hanging scrolls. This video uses the magic of virtual reality technology to return these paintings to their original formats and place them dynamically in situ, into their original temple settings. Its immersive, detailed videography introduces the production process through which these paintings were created, their various painting styles, and other highlights of this large scale masterpiece.

A Message to Museum Visitors

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