The 75th Shosoin Exhibition will be held at the Nara National Museum from October 28. This year’s exhibition will feature the “akajiosidorikarakusamonnishiki-no-oban-no-kyakutankazari” which is closely related to Tatsumura Art Textiles.
Ever since Tatsumura Heizo I began researching Shosoin Treasure Rivals at the end of the Taisho era (1912-1926), Tatsumura Art Textiles and Shosoin Treasures have been inseparably linked. Through the treasures on display at this exhibition, we would like to share this relationship with you.
What is the Shosoin Exhibition?
The treasury that houses the Shosoin Treasures is the Todaiji’s Shoso (originally a storehouse for storing grain and other items) and is thought to have been built during the Nara Period. The treasures housed in the Shosoin Treasure House are mainly the personal effects of Emperor Shomu, items related to Buddhist memorial services at Todaiji Temple, and items related to the construction of Todaiji Temple, among others.
These treasures are inspected every fall, and the Shosoin Exhibition is held in conjunction with this inspection. Items that reflect the results of the latest research or are highly topical are selected, and visitors are able to see the techniques and beauty of these treasures through the ages.
What is “akajiosidorikarakusamonnishiki-no-oban-no-kyakutankazari”?
One of the many treasures to be exhibited at the 75th Shosoin Exhibition is a “akajiosidorikarakusamonnishiki-no-oban-no-kyakutankazari”. This decoration was attached to the lower end of the banner leg of Emperor Shomu, who died in 756, and was used at the first death anniversary celebration of his death in 756. “akajiosidorikarakusamonnishiki-no-oban-no-kyakutankazari” is also very large. The red brocade is decorated with lotus arabesques and a pair of mandarin ducks riding on the lotus arabesques, which shows the gorgeous patterns of the time.
Tatsumura Art Textiles and Shosoin Treasures
Since its establishment in 1894, Tatsumura Bijutsu Orimono has been engaged in textile production with “restoration and creation” as its foundation. One of the cornerstones of this philosophy is the study and restoration of Shosoin treasures. In 1924, Tatsumura Heizo I was commissioned by the Imperial Household Museum (now the Tokyo National Museum) to conduct research on ancient textile fragments at Shosoin. One of the pieces was a “akajiosidorikarakusamonnishiki-no-oban-no-kyakutankazari” which was restored after his research.
The purpose of restoration is to reproduce the condition of the textile at the time it was created. The knowledge gained from thorough research of ancient textiles, from raw materials to techniques, and the skills acquired from a thorough knowledge of all kinds of techniques are the key to restoration. The restoration process, which can only be completed when all of these factors are in place, is a test of the “comprehensive strength of weaving,” a spirit that has been passed down through the generations to today’s Tatsumura Art Textiles.
From Restoration to Commercialization
The restored “akajiosidorikarakusamonnishiki-no-oban-no-kyakutankazari” is one of the most outstanding treasures housed in the Shosoin Repository in terms of its superb pattern composition, beautiful color scheme, and exquisite weaving technique. At Tatsumura Bijutsu Orimono, we have woven the fabric as “Oshidori Karakusa-mon Nishiki(Brocade with Mandarin Ducks and Arabesques Pattern)” so that many people can experience the gorgeous and vividly colored patterns of this original product in a variety of products.
The fabrics made with the Keikin technique, which allows you to feel the texture of the fabric, are delivered to you in the form of tea ceremony utensils, rugs, and various miscellaneous accessories. We hope you will enjoy the delicacy and beauty of Shosoin treasures revived from ancient times to the present day.