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HOME > Exhibitions - NARA NATIONAL MUSEUM > The Buddhist Icons of Kamakura

Special Exhibition

The Buddhist Icons of Kamakura:
Realism and Exoticism

 The new style of Buddhist sculpture that was brought to fruition in Nara at the beginning of the Kamakura period by Kōkei, Unkei, Kaikei and others of the school of Buddhist sculptors known as the Kei-ha spread quickly through Kamakura and all of Eastern Japan. This was a result of the zeal of the shogun, his retainers and other important figures in the warrior government in Kamakura to have the Buddhist icons produced by the Kei-ha sculptors installed in the temples that they had constructed.
 The Kamakura Museum of National Treasures was established to preserve the cultural properties from Kamakura and its environs that had been damaged in the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. The aim of the museum was to provide the broader public an opportunity to view the region’s numerous precious works entrusted to and stored at the museum. Thus Buddhist art of Kamakura and Eastern Japan, and especially masterpieces that permit us to grasp the entire panorama of Buddhist sculpture are on permanent display there.
 This exhibition includes a section devoted to Buddhist paintings in addition to masterworks of sculpture from the collection of the Kamakura Museum of National Treasures, and we are also privileged to display sacred images from neighboring temples. Our aim is to create an exhibition where one can encounter under a single roof various aspects of the Buddhist icons that were developed in Kamakura. This is the first attempt to mount a comprehensive exhibition of this type outside of the Kantō area, and the opening has great significance, particularly as Nara can rightly be called the cradle of Kamakura sculpture.

Image above:Jutsu-shin
(Divine General of dog),
One of the Standing Twelve Divine Generals,
Kamakura Museum of National Treasures,
Kanagawa Prefecture Designated Cultural Property


April 5 (Sat.) - June 1 (Sun.), 2014


New wing of the Nara National Museum


Mondays and May 7 with the exception of April 28, May 5

Open hours

9:30 AM-5:00 PM
* Note that the exhibition will be extended until 7:00 PM on every Friday from April 25
* Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.


Individual Group Advance Ticket
General Admission ¥1,300 ¥1,100 ¥1,100
College/ High School Students ¥800 ¥600 ¥600
Junior High/ Elementary School Students ¥500 ¥300 ¥300
Campus members ¥400

* A group must consist of at least 20 people led by a group leader.
* Free of charge entry to disabled certificate holders and an accompanying caretaker (upon presenting the certificate).
* Special Exhibition tickets provide admission to the Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall and the Ritual Bronzes Gallery.
* Advance Tickets can be purchased at below. Available from March 5 (Wed.) until April 4 (Fri.).
Ticket counter of Nara National Museum , Kintetsu Travel Information Desk , Kinki Nippon Tourist , JR TOKAI TOURS , NIPPON TRAVEL AGENCY CO.,LTD , Ticket PIA [P-Code 766-073] , Lawson Ticket [L-Code 52499] , Seven-Elevn Ticket [Seven-Code:028-137], Community Network Play Guide , E-Plus (http://eplus.jp).

Works on display

53 works
* Important Cultural Property : 26 works
>See some works (Japanese page)


*Japanese page (here)


Nara National Museum, Kamakura Museum of National Treasures, The Yomiuri Shimbun


Agency of Cultural Affairs, NHK Nara Broadcasting Station, Nara Television Co., Ltd.

Cooperating organization

Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co., Ltd., Iwatani Corporation, Daishinsha Inc., Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd., Non-Destructive Inspection Co., Ltd.

With the aid of Nippon Kōdō Co., Ltd., Bukkyō Bijutsu Kyōkai (Buddhist Art Foundation)