Shoso-in exhibition now open in Nara city showcases Tenpyo culture

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Visitors look at a silver Ginko bowl during the 74th annual Shoso-in Treasures Exhibition at the Nara National Museum in Nara city on Saturday.

NARA – The 74th annual Shoso-in Treasures Exhibition kicked off at the Nara National Museum in the city of Nara on Saturday, showcasing masterpieces from the Tenpyo culture that flourished in the 8th century.

Visitors were glued to the exhibits, which contain works of art that epitomize the glamorous craftsmanship of the Tenpyo period.

For the first time, visitors can see various textiles in the exhibition, including Nishiki woven fabric, embroidery and damask twill. The colorful silk fabrics made with advanced techniques have particularly caught the attention of visitors.

Among the 59 exhibits is a silver Ginko bowl with incised designs of hunting scenes, flowers and plants. The bowl is believed to have been presented as an offering by the reigning Empress Shotoku, a daughter of Emperor Shomu.

“I was struck by the size of the large silver bowl and the presence it exuded,” said Mayumi Kawamura who visited the exhibit from Itami, Hyogo Prefecture. “I could feel the meticulousness of those living in the distant past when I saw such small dots filling the space between the exquisite patterns.”

As a measure against the novel coronavirus, the venue is only open to visitors who reserve a specific entry date and time by purchasing a ticket in advance. Tickets are sold through Lawson Ticket.

The exhibition runs until November 14 and is open daily.

The annual exhibition is produced in special cooperation with the Yomiuri Shimbun.

James C. Tibbs