Summer Special Exhibition II

Note: This exhibit has closed.

Please note that this information pertains to an exhibition that has closed.

In the mid-8th century, Emperor Shōmu had Shigaraki Palace built in Kōka, and vowed to erect a Great Buddha there as a monument of the Japanese nation under the ritsuryō legal code. However, shortly thereafter, the construction of the palace was halted and the capital returned to Nara, where the Great Buddha was made for the Tōdai-ji Temple, which continues to receive many visitors today.

Recent excavations of Shigaraki-no-miya Site Complex and analysis and research of wooden tablets from the site have greatly changed previously held historic views of the palace, the nearby Kōka-dera Temple, and the Ōmi region during the Nara period. These new findings in the history of the Kōka area during the Nara period not only clarify but deepen the mysteries of why Emperor Shōmu chose this area to build his palace and wished to erect a monumental Buddha statue here. Buildings of a coutier residence from Shigaraki-no-miya were also later dismantled and rebuilt during the construction of Ishiyama-dera Temple revealing that the palace continued to play a major role in thinking about the outstanding Buddhist culture that developed in Ōmi.

Images of gods and buddhas as well as sublime ornaments were made in succession at Kōka. Though Shigaraki Palace itself was short lived, its influence on the history of Kōka and Ōmi may have had a far greater reach than previously thought. This exhibition attempts to explore the mysteries of this history through the forms of gods and buddhas and the outstanding works made through belief in these deities from this region.


Exhibition Term
July 27, 2019 - September 1, 2019
North Wing
Miho Museum
Kyoto Shimbun Inc.