Annual Shoso-in exhibition to showcase 59 items

The Nara National Museum

NARA — The Nara National Museum will hold the 74th exhibition of Shoso-in treasures from Oct. 29 to Nov. 14, the museum has announced.

A total of 59 items — eight of which will be shown to the public for the first time — will be on display for visitors to experience the splendor and sophistication of the Nara period’s (710-784) Tempyo culture.

One item to be exhibited is the “Shippai Kingin Heidatsu no Hakkakukyo” (Eight-Lobed White Bronze Mirror Inlaid with Gold and Silver Cutouts in Black Lacquer on the Back). The gold and silver cutouts depict ho-oh, phoenix-like creatures, and arabesque patterns.

The mirror, 28.5 centimeters in diameter, is included on a list of items cherished by Emperor Shomu (701-756) in the book “Kokka Chinpo Cho” (Record of the Nation’s Rare Treasures). It was stolen and damaged in the Kamakura period (late 12th century to 1333) but was restored to its original elegance in the Meiji era (1868-1912).

Other treasures on display include the 17-kilogram log of fragrant wood “Zensenko,” used for incense and one of the museum’s two “Ginko,” silver bowls with incised designs of hunting scenes, which are said to have been presented as an offering by Empress Shotoku, Emperor Shomu’s daughter, during a visit to Todaiji temple.

As in the previous two years, visitors will be required to buy their tickets in advance, reserving a specific date and time of entry, and same-day tickets will not be available, as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Yomiuri Shimbun will provide special support to the annual exhibition.