Monday, January 11, 2016

Tokyo National Museum #TokyoDiaries

In December 2015, an officemate told me about the special exhibit of the Terracotta Army of Qin dynasty at Tokyo National Museum. The moment he said it, I already had in mind of where I want to go by the very first weekend back in Japan. I have been wanting to see those myself though the possibility of it never crossed my mind until an opportunity came. 

So, earlier today, I made my way to Ueno. 
TNM (Tokyo National Museum) is the largest and oldest museum in Japan. It holds several national treasures and hosts special exhibits of works and treasures all over the world.
The museum compound is facing Ueno park.
Though I was a frequent visitor of Ueno park in my earlier years in Japan, it never occurred to me that the largest museum of the nation is just a few walks from the station. It could be that my interest were all in Ameyoko. Ameyoko was my favorite street for cheap finds before. It is a historical place itself being famous as a black market after WW-2. I haven't had the opportunity to visit while there because of time constraints. I might go there again. someday.
The Terracotta Army of Qin Dynasty exhibit was located in Heisekan (one of the four museums inside the compound). The Heisekan holds Japanese Archaeology and Special Exhibits (inset photo is the lobby).
Just right of the main entrance is a canteen. Selection of food is very limited to cakes, sandwiches, and quick lunches. Vending machines are also available.
And so I thought the museum prohibits photo-ops. There's an allocated area just for this but the Terracotta Army background are all replicas. Better than nothing.
They are perfect replicas. The total number of original Terracotta Army on display is around six. Other things on display are artifacts, accessories and a few tidbits. The exhibit started with narratives, small things until it brings you to the grand army,
It has been said that Emperor Qin wanted to rule for eternity that's why these clay life-size army were molded and surrounded his tomb with the belief that these will guard Emperor Qin in his afterlife. The magnitude of effort only shows how Emperor Qin was revered by the people.
Right after I was done doing rounds at Heiseikan, I went to Honkan to check on the Japanese Gallery. Honkan is another building in the compound (the first photo of this post shows the facade).
There were a lot of displays. Inset are from the Exhibit: Buddhism in Japan. 
Buddha in Kamakura period
Reclining Buddha.
Bed clothes

Some displays are allowed to be photographed.
It was a relief knowing that the museums have plenty of toilets. Unlike in Louvre where toilets are scarce. 
And what I got as a souvenir is a tacky-looking chessboard set with pieces inspired by the Terracota Army.
Up close they look awesome but the craftsmanship of the board looks all handmade -- in the 80s kind of way. Most likely, I will never get to play with it because of time and lack of opponent. Though T presented himself as potential, I doubt time (again) will allow us.
I'll go back there someday. The Toyokan (Asian Gallery) is next in my list.

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