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Special Exhibition of

Ancient Sutras from the Heian Period:
Encountering the Legendary Kunōji Sutras

 The copying of Buddhist sutras has a long history in Japan, going back to before the seventh century, and the practice developed in various ways during the following historical periods. Many of the sutras copied during the Heian period were ornamented using techniques such as the dyeing of the paper, the sprinkling of flakes of gold and silver foil, the painting of images, and the writing of characters in gold or silver ink; these kinds of ornamentation are representative of the period. On the other hand, the normal practice of copying sutras in black ink on plain paper was also popular during the Heian period, and it was also during the Heian period that there appeared sutras written on bronze panels and tiles. This was in addition the period when a method of printing was rst employed to produce sutras in Japan.
 In this exhibition, we introduce not only various aspects of the Buddhist scripture copied during the Heian period, but also display the Sutras of Kunōji Temple (Kunōjikyō), sutras that demonstrate the essence of the various techniques of sutra production developed over the course of the Heian period. This is a set of the Lotus Sutra (Hokekyō) copied in the onechapter-per-scroll format (ippongyō) by Retired Emperor Toba and his close associates in order to form a spiritual bond. Four of the extant twenty-six scrolls of the set preserve their original frontispiece paintings, which have long been unavailable for public viewing due to the problems of preservation. As these paintings have recently undergone conservation, we now are able to display them.
 This exhibition traces the history and diversity of the Heian-period Buddhist scriptures and serves as an unexcelled opportunity to experience the legendary Sutras of Kunōji Temple.

<em>Nigatsudō engi</em> (Karmic origins of the Nigatsudō)

Important Cultural Property Hokekyō (Lotus Sutra), One chapter per scroll (ippongyō)
"The Benefits of Responding with Joy" (Zuiki kudoku-hon), Chapter 18
Private Collection


April 7 (Sat.) - May 17 (Sun.), 2015


New wing of the Nara National Museum


Mondays and May 7 with the exception of May 4

Open hours

9:30 AM-5:00 PM
* Note that the exhibition will be extended until 7:00 PM on every Friday from April 24
* Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.


Individual Group Advance Ticket
General Admission ¥1,200 ¥1,000 ¥1,000
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).
* This admission fee includes admission to the Exhibition from the Permanent Collection.
* Advance Tickets can be purchased at below. Available from March 6 (Fri.) until April 6 (Mon.).
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 766-645] , Lawson Ticket [L-Code 56127] , Seven-Elevn Ticket (http://7ticket.jp), Community Network Play Guide , E-Plus (http://eplus.jp).

Works on display

67 works
* National Treasure : 13 works
* Important Cultural Property : 16 works
>See some works (Japanese page)


*Japanese page (here)


Nara National Museum

With the support of: Agency for Cultural Aairs, NHK Nara Broadcasting Station, Nara Television Co.,Ltd.

In cooperation with: Nippon Kodo Co.,Ltd., Bukkyo Bijutsu Kyokai (Buddhist Art Foundation)