Monday, November 7, 2016

Postcard from Japan: Ueno on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - Part One

Sakura is the featured theme on Ueno's manhole covers.
Mariko-san and I had planned ahead on going to Ueno, a section of Tokyo with many museums clustered near the station.  During my first week in Tokyo, I'd seen a huge poster sign along the train tracks advertising a Van Gogh & Gaugin exhibit and decided I should see it before leaving Japan to go home.
(An ad sheet at the exhibit mentions that the exhibition is traveling at the Detroit Institute of Arts some time in 2017.  I'm hoping to see it again so that I can read ALL of the information, not just the small amount in English that was provided.)

At the end of the exhibit, viewers were allowed an opportunity to sit in front of a huge reproduction of Van Gogh's "Gaugin's Chair" for selfie photographs.

Anmitsu at museum's cafe

Coffee jelly with cream (half eaten....)
We had walked and stood in lines long enough that we were ready to sit down and have some refreshment.  The museum's cafe where we had anmitsu (me) and coffee jelly with cream (Mariko).

An exhibit of Heian period guardian statues at Buddhist temples.
Mariko-san was kind enough to go to the Van Gogh (pronounced Go-ho in Japanese) exhibit with me.  So, next we went to the Tokyo National Museum to see the "Secret Guardian Statues of the Heian Period," an exhibit that Mariko-san wanted to see and had already bought tickets for both of us.  The Heian period was from 794 to 1185 AD.

The exhibit was only one room but was filled with exquisitely carved wooden figures covered in gold leaf.  At approximately 20' tall, the main attraction statue situated in the middle of the room and sitting on a pedestal and gold lotus flower, it is the largest of its kind and the first time the statue had been seen in its entirety, and the first time to be taken out of its temple and seen by the public at large.

Tokyo National Museum
There were also stone statues outside along the walk way, possibly also from the Heian period.
Statue at Tokyo National
Museum grounds.

As we were tiredly trying to make our way back to the Ueno station, I saw a poster on the station pillar for an exhibit of Taisho era (1912-1926) paintings by Kitayama Seitaro.

Painting exhibit of Western influenced art
at the Tokyo Station Gallery.
Western art and culture was quickly making its way into Japanese society at all levels and these paintings show the influence that Western culture, especially from Europe, was having on Japan.

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