Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall & Ritual Bronzes Gallery
The Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall displays the Exhibition from the Permanent Collection: Masterpieces of Buddhist Sculptures. A large number of great sculptures from the Asuka period through the Kamakura period are on display in addition to the Buddhist sculptures from China. This is the most complete collection of Buddhist sculptures among all of Japan’s national museums.
The Sakamoto Collection of ancient Chinese bronzes is exhibited in the Ritual Bronzes Gallery, which is connected to the Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall by a corridor.
◆About the building
The Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall (Original Museum Building) is a brick building completed in 1894. It was designed by Katayama Tōkuma (1854–1917), an architectural designer of the Imperial Household Agency. The building adopts the architectural style of the peak of French Renaissance. Especially noted for the decorative ornamentation around its West Entrance, this building is an outstanding example of mid-Meiji period European-style architecture. In 1969, the building was designated as an Important Cultural Property under the official name “Former Imperial Nara Museum Original Museum Building.”
The annex (Ritual Bronzes Gallery) was constructed as a storehouse in 1937 and has been the exhibition room of the Sakamoto Collection of ancient Chinese bronzes since 2002.