Caught Up in Magnificent Masterpieces of Buddhist Statues: Kyushu National Museum


Posted on 15 Jun 2019 21:00 in ASKSiddhiのひとりごと by Yoko Deshmukh

One of two National Museums in Japan hosts grandeur special exhibitions all around the year.

*Splendid wooden structure from inside the museum premises.

A friend of my mother gave us some pieces of complimentary tickets to the Special Exhibition held by Kyushu National Museum located at Dazaifu, Fukuoka. The theme was "The Buddhist Sculptures of Daihō'onji, Kyoto Masterpieces by Kaikei and Jōkei" which commemorated the 800th anniversary of founding Daihō'onji temple and the masterpiece sculptures created by the "superstar" sculptors of the time, Kaikei, Joukei, and Gyoukai who collectively belonged to the Keiha School. 


The Buddhist Sculptures of Daihō'onji, Kyoto Masterpieces by Kaikei and Jōkei

Special Exhibition - The Buddhist Sculptures of Daiho'onji, Kyoto: Masterpieces by Kaikei and Jokei


The Buddhist Sculptures of Daihō'onji Temple, Kyoto Masterpieces by Kaikei and Jōkei - Fukuoka Now

The sublime Buddhist sculptures flew directly from the temple in Kyoto to Fukuoka for the first time in history. And so we visited the museum despite the endless heavy rain since the night before. 

Each piece had English, Chinese, and Korean notes, apart from Japanese, As for the English notes, though, they were not necessarily the exact translation of the Japanese explanatory, I think that was because of the cultural consideration. Photographing was not allowed except for a particular unique "stage" created for that. 

I was particularly impressed by the technique, or rather technology behind kyouzo (経蔵, the rotating sutra repository,) the makings of gyokugan (玉眼, the eyes made of crystal inserted into the head of a wooden Buddhist statue to produce a realistic appearance,) and so on.

Finally, those carefully carved masterpieces developed particular emotion inside my heart. My mind flew to the Mahabodhi tree of Buddha Gaya we visited last year; everything and every possible miracle started from the place under that tiny tree. 

From the left; Nyoi-rin Kan-non Bosatsu, 
Jun-dei Kan-non Bosatsu,
Ju-ni-men Kan-non Bosatsu.

From left; Batou Kan-non Bosatsu,
Senju Kan-non Bosatsu,
Sho Kan-non Bosatsu.

Click to view an enlarged image.


Click to view an enlarged image.

Click to view an enlarged image.

Click to view an enlarged image.

Bilingual guide to the Buddhist Statues, from the museum shop.

Shiratama dango dumplings, red bean jam, kinako soy flour,
topped with soft-serve and gold flakes.
At the museum cafe inside the premises.

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About the author

Yoko Deshmukh   (日本語 | English)         
インド・プネ在住歴10年以上の英日・日英フリーランス翻訳者、デシュムク陽子(Yoko Deshmukh)が運営しています。2003年9月30日からインドのプネに住んでいます。

ASKSiddhi is run by Yoko Deshmukh, a native Japanese freelance English - Japanese - English translator who lives in Pune since 30th September 2003.

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