Last Sunday I visited the Tokyo National Museum to view “Treasures of the Imperial Collections – Splendor of Japanese Art” which was a display of well-known Japanese art, in fact art that the majority of Japanese read and learned about during their school years. Such imperial treasures are shown, in Tokyo, once during an emperor’s reign. This exposition was to celebrate the emperor’s 20th year as Japan’s ruler.
I particularly like Japanese screens and scrolls which depict famous historical scenes and stories, for instance, the renowned story of Genji was represented on a number of screens. The illustrious scroll of Prince Shotoku (c574-622) with two young princes – it is one of the oldest Japanese paintings still in existence – was also shown off. The princes are all dressed in flowing robes and are wearing curled up toed shoes which were apparently fashionable in Korea and China at that time. It was amazing to be viewing such treasures including calligraphy from the 8th century. There was also a type of biwa (it looks a bit like a guitar with a slimmer neck with four strings and five frets, I gues it is a lute) which was stunning, as too were some very old mirrors made of silver, vases and urns which are hundreds of years old. The craftsmanship is astounding.
It was indeed a privilege to view these revered Japanese treasures for two reasons: firstly, that I was given two tickets to the exhibition by a Japanese gentleman who I see quite often, when I am handing out flyers, and with whom I exchange greetings whenever I see him, otherwise I would not have even known that this exhibition was taking place and secondly, because I had to wait 40 minutes to enter the museum which I done because at that time it was not raining and also that I wanted to attend the showing in order to demonstrate my appreciation for the free tickets that I was given. I am so pleased that I was presented with such a wonderful opportunity to view this valuable and ancient Japanese art.
The Tokyo National Museum was established in 1872 and is the largest and oldest museum in Japan
Smith’s School of English – Koenji