Dignity of Mythical Beasts; Guardian Lions and DogsSpecial Exhibition from September 2, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture1 September 2014 - Sightseeing/Events
On September 2, MIHO MUSEUM, in Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture launched its autumn special exhibition entitled "Shishi and Komainu: Mythical Beasts from Far Away," sponsored by the museum and Kyoto Shimbun Newspaper Co., Ltd. A sneak preview was held for the press on September 1 to show the approximately 140 exhibits, including one national treasure, 12 Important Cultural Properties, and others, among which is a powerful, majestic wooden statue of a guardian dog.
While "shishi," or guardian lions, and "komainu," or guardian dogs, are very familiar to Japanese people, the exhibition tracks their origin through lion statues in China and Central Asia to as far back as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia of roughly 5,000 years ago. Also exhibited are Japanese guardian lions and dogs from the Heian Period through the early modern period.
There is an array of lion and dog statues with ferocious expressions and solemn dignity, including a pair of statues from the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the USA, which will be displayed for the first time in Japan, a bronze statue of a guardian dog, which is a national treasure in the possession of Kasuga Shrine in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, a pair of statues which are important cultural properties of Daiho Shrine, in Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture, and others. There is also a section introducing the varied, unique guardian lion and dog statues of the Tohoku region.
The exhibition continues until December 14. The museum is closed on Mondays, or on Tuesdays when Monday is a national holiday. There is an entry fee.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)