Past Exhibitions

Japanese Sculpture
January 2, 2018 - March 18, 2018

The highlight of the newly re-installed Japanese sculpture galleries are a set of statues of the Five Wisdom Buddhas from Anshō-ji Temple. This set of Japanese Esoteric Buddhist deities is the oldest of its kind, dating from the ninth century early Heian period. The sculptures are being shown here for the first time after a major conservation overhaul. They replace the statues of the Buddha Dainichi and Fudō Myōō previously on view, which have been returned to their newly restored hall in in Kongō-ji Temple, Osaka.

Shinto Deities and Guardian Lions and Lion Dog
January 2, 2018 - March 18, 2018

One of the rituals of the Japanese New Year is the first shrine visit of the year. Near the torii gate leading into the shrine, one often finds a pair of stone guardian lion and lion dog statues. Like their counterpart temple guardian deities, these sculptures usually have one with mouth open and the other with mouth closed. The open-mouthed animal on the right is a lion (shishi). The closed-mouth one on the left, if it has a horn on its head, is what is called a lion dog (komainu). In early Japan, these guardian lions and lion dog images were more often made of wood than stone, and they were placed under the roofs of shrine buildings instead of outdoors. This exhibition features rare examples of lions and lion dogs from early modern Japan together with deities of Japan’s indigenous Shinto faith and Buddhist deities that fall in the category of heavenly beings (devas, or ten).

Requests to Visitors to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Infection

A Message to Museum Visitors

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