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“Choju-giga” Exhibit at Tokyo National Museum


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  • Special Exhibition
    National Treasure “Frolicking Animals”

    14 July – 30 August 2020
    Postponed to 13 April – 30 May 2021
    until 20 June 2021
    Tokyo National Museum


    Choju-giga (鳥獣戯画 – literally “Birds and Animals Caricatures”) is a set of medieval picture scrolls (emaki) dating to the 12th century and created over the years by unidentified monks and artists. .

    Choju-giga is one of the most famous art works in Japanese history and is designated as a Japan’s National Treasure.

    Frogs, rabbits, monkeys and other animals – as well as humans – are drawn vibrantly and humorously by brush strokes in black ink alone.

    This show is all about “Choju-giga”, presenting every scene from the remarkable picture scrolls, which are sometimes called the first Japanese manga.

    Highlights of the National Treasure “Frolicking Animals”

    ◆All scenes from Choju-giga on display

    A whole set of scenes from the entire volumes Kou, Otsu, Hei and Tei (equivalent to Vol. I, II, III & IV) will be in view.

    The total length of the four volumes is more than 44 meters.

    特別展「国宝 鳥獣戯画のすべて」東京国立博物館
    特別展「国宝 鳥獣戯画のすべて」東京国立博物館
    特別展「国宝 鳥獣戯画のすべて」東京国立博物館
    特別展「国宝 鳥獣戯画のすべて」東京国立博物館 国宝 鳥獣戯画 甲巻(部分) 平安時代 12世紀 京都・高山寺 通期

    特別展「国宝 鳥獣戯画のすべて」東京国立博物館 国宝 鳥獣戯画 乙巻(部分) 平安時代 12世紀 京都・高山寺 通期

    特別展「国宝 鳥獣戯画のすべて」東京国立博物館 国宝 鳥獣戯画 丁巻(部分) 鎌倉時代 13世紀 京都・高山寺 通期


    ◆ A comprehensive view of Choju-giga

    These four volumes will be complemented by the works split from them and the copies of the originals already lost. This gives a comprehensive view of the “Frolicking Animals”.

    特別展「国宝 鳥獣戯画のすべて」東京国立博物館 重要文化財 鳥獣戯画断簡(東博本) 平安時代 12世紀 東京国立博物館 通期


    ◆ Treasures of Kozan-ji Temple

    It is at Kozan-ji Temple in Kyoto that Choju-giga scrolls have been passed on from generation to generation (now deposited at the Tokyo National Museum and the Kyoto National Museum).

    The temple was reestablished during the Kamakura era by the Buddhist monk Myoe (1173-1232).

    The exhibition will also display significant works that belong to Kozan-ji Temple, including Myoe’s statue that will be shown to the public for the first time in 27 years.

    特別展「国宝 鳥獣戯画のすべて」東京国立博物館
    重要文化財 明恵上人坐像 鎌倉時代 13世紀 京都・高山寺 通期

    特別展「国宝 鳥獣戯画のすべて」東京国立博物館
    重要文化財 子犬 鎌倉時代 13世紀 京都・高山寺 通期
    *Information as of June 2020

* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.

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