Past Exhibitions

Feature Exhibition: The Aoi Festival: A Thousand-Year Tradition
April 21, 2015 - May 31, 2015

The Aoi Festival, or Aoi Matsuri (or more formally, the Kamo Festival), is one of the Three Great Festivals of Kyoto, along with the Gion Festival and the Festival of Ages (Jidai Matsuri). Since ancient times, it has been held annually at Kyoto's Shimogamo and Kamigamo Shrines on the fifteenth day of May. During the Heian period (794–1185), in the early 800s, the Kamo Festival began to be held by imperial order and was attended imperial envoys, making it the most important festival in the capital. Today, as one of Japan's three court-sponsored festivals (chokusai)—along with the festivals Kasuga Festival and Iwashimizu Festival—the Aoi Festival brilliantly conveys the elegance of the Heian capital. Beloved by citizens from every sector of society, the festival has also been the inspiration for numerous episodes in Japanese literature and works of art. This exhibition features works that evoke this age-old annual event, which has been a mainstay of life in Kyoto for over a millennium.

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