Catalogue from the exhibition held at The Art Institute of Chicago from the 28th of June to the 7th of September 1986.
"The Great Eastern Temple is the name for Japan's popular and most important monument to the spiritual and political impact of Buddhism on the nation's history and culture. In all of Asia, Todai-ji alone among the great centers of state Buddhism survives as a living sanctuary and active institution with an unbroken tradition stretching back 1,200 years. No single repository could better convey the quality and range of Japanese Buddhist art and architecture. Chief among the temple's cultural properties are the objects one stored in the famous Shoso-in treasure house. Primarily the personal possessions of the Emperor Shomu (701-56), they were given to the temple at the time of his death. Objects from the Shoso-in have never left Japan and until recent times they were not even placed on public display. In addition to these sequestered treasures, Todai-ji maintains one of Asia's and Japan's richest collections of traditional art and architecture. Its buildings range in date from the time of its founding to the present. Its superb Buddhist and Shinto sculptures are representative of the main creative periods in the history of Japanese sculpture, and the paintings and liturgical objects included here are a rich reflection of the history of Japanese arts and crafts. An exhibition such as this would have been unthinkable without the full support of the Todai-ji authorities and the Japanese government."
Published by The Art Institute of Chicago in association with Indiana University Press, 1986
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