National Treasures of To-ji Temple: Kukai and the Sculpture Mandala
In 823, Emperor Saga granted the Japanese priest Kukai control of Kyoto’s To-ji Temple following his return from China where he studied the newly-established teachings of Esoteric Buddhism. Kukai made this temple the focal point of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, with the year 2023 set to mark the 1,200th anniversary of the establishment of this influential religious sect. The objects of Esoteric Buddhism associated with Kukai are also of immense artistic quality, with their rich variety and expressiveness holding an exceptional position among the Buddhist art of Japan. This comprehensive exhibition will present cultural properties handed down at To-ji, with a focus on the numerous treasured articles associated with Kukai himself, including 11 national treasures and four important cultural properties.
Image: National Treasure, Taishakuten (Indra) Riding an Elephant, Heian period, dated 839 (Jowa 6)