＜Exhibition＞ “Izumo and Yamato: The Birth of Ancient Japan”. Marking 1300 years since the compilation of the Nihon Shoki. Tokyo National Museum. January 15 – March 8, 2020.
The year 2020 marks 1,300 years since the compilation of Japan’s oldest official history, The Chronicles of Japan (Nihon Shoki). The history contains two narratives: one of sacred lzumo inhabited by the gods of Shinto and ruled over by Ōkuninushi; and one of mortal Yamato, a place of human governance ruled over by the emperor. In partnership with their present-day counterparts, Shimane Prefecture (Izumo) and Nara Prefecture (Yamato), this special exhibition brings together rare and remarkable artifacts to explore these two foundational pillars of ancient Japan—the seat of sacred power in Izumo and the seat of political power in Yamato.
Swords, Ritual bells (dōtaku), and Halberds. Excavated from Kōjindani ruins, Izumo City, Shimane. Yayoi period, 2nd–1st century BCE. Agency for Cultural Affairs. (In the care of the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo.) National Treasure.
Mirrors with patterned concentric bands and design of deities and animals; Mirrors with sawtooth patterns on rims and designs of deities and animals. Excavated from Kurozuka Tumulus, Tenri City, Nara. Kofun period, 3rd century. Agency for Cultural Affairs. (In the care of the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture.) Important Cultural Property.
Cosmetic box with deer in autumn field. Kamakura period, 13th century. Izumo Shrine, Shimane. National Treasure. (On exhibit from February 11 to March 8, 2020.)
Highlights of the Exhibition
Sacred Treasures from Izumo Shrine on Exhibit in Tokyo
Many valuable objects have been passed down at Izumo Shrine, including elaborate cosmetic boxes, armor, and paintings that once adorned the shrine
Bronze Artifacts from Izumo
Numerous bronze artifacts including swords, bells and spearheads found at the Kōjindani and Kamo Iwakura historical sites.
Bronze Mirrors from Yamato
All 33 bronze mirrors found in the Kurozuka Tumulus in Yamato (now Nara Prefecture) are on exhibit. The mirrors, many of which have sawtooth patterns on their rims, feature images of deities and animals.
Buddhist Statues on Exhibit for the First Time Outside of Nara
Stone Buddhas that have remained in their temples in Nara for 1,300 years are now on exhibit for the first time in Tokyo. Notice the fine carving and the slight remains of the original colouring.
Special Exhibition – “Izumo and Yamato: The Birth of Ancient Japan”. Marking 1300 years since the compilation of the Nihon Shoki.