August 18 (Sat.) – October 21 (Sun.), 2018
On Mondays and Fridays, except for September 17, 24, October 8, but September 18, 25, and October 9 are closed.
(The exhibition are changed on September 18 and 21.)
[until August 30] 9:00 – 16:45 (last admission at 16:30)
[from September 1] 9:00 – 16:15 (last admission at 16:00)
Kasuga Gongen Genki E (Legends of Kasuga Shrine), the masterpiece of illustrated scrolls of the Kamakura period, has a list of contents attached dated March 1309, stating that it was planned by Saionji Kinhira(1264-1315), who was a member of the Fujiwara clan, and the Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) at the time, to be offered to the Kasuga Shrine. The paintings were by Takashina Takakane, chief painter of the Court, and the words were written by the former Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) Takatsukasa Mototada, and his three sons, making the situations about its creation quite clear. Furthermore, the words and colorful, exquisite paintings using superior yamatoe techniques are painted on expensive silk, and in spite of its fragility easily deteriorated due to aging, it is almost completely in its original state. In addition, the mounting of the covers, and boxes, etc., are all in their original states, making its preciousness prominent. Its history of conveyance, contents, and painting methods, are all superb in artistic and historical character, and its position as a masterpiece of illustrated scrolls representative of Japanese culture is unrivaled.
This set of illustrated scrolls was originally a treasure passed down under strict control in the Kasuga Shrine, and became the property of the Takatsukasa family for some reason in late Edo period. It was presented to the Court during the early Meiji period, and since then has been protected as a masterpiece among the Gyobutsu (Imperial treasures). In the Heisei period, Sannomaru Shozokan became in charge of its maintenance and management, which judged that the set was in a condition too severe to be passed down to future generations. Therefore a 13 year project of full-scale restoration was carried out from 2004, after investigation and consideration by specialists. This project may be called the “Large Scale Heisei Restoration”, carried out with the most reliable and safest restoration methods, along with optical and scientific investigation. Furthermore, silk from the silkworms called Koishimaru raised by Her Majesty the Empress at the Momijiyama Imperial Cocoonery, was used for the reproduction of the cover cloth. Kitamura Shosai, the holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure) of raden (mother of pearl inlay) techniques, was engaged in the restoration of the heads of the scroll axes. Thus, this project which concentrated all the powers of people who have succeeded Japanese traditional culture, has achieved great significance to convey Japanese tradition in techniques and materials to the future generations.
Hereafter, opportunities will increase for many people to be able to see this set of illustrated scrolls, while taking balance between preservation and exhibition to the public. We hope our visitors will thoroughly enjoy the delicacy, splendor and elegance of their yamatoe paintings, cultivated by superior sensitivity of the Japanese, along with the background and importance of protection of this set of illustrated scrolls passed down to the present day.
Kasuga Gongen Genki E (Legends of Kasuga Shrine) 15scrolls
(out of 20 scrolls, except for volume 1, 6, 10, 11,20)
List of contents attached the illustrated scrolls, Storage box in makie, Original cover cloth, original scroll axis, reproduction of the cover cloth with silk from silkworms calld Koishimaru, etc.