Study and photography of a Painting of the Thousand-armed Kannon (a National Treasure) in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum
As part of the “Study on Digital Imaging of Cultural Properties” research project of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems, high-resolution images of a Painting of the Thousand-armed Kannon (a National Treasure) in the Tokyo National Museum were taken November 1. This photography was in accordance with a “joint study” between the Institute and the Tokyo National Museum and follows the study of a Painting of the Akasagarbha Bodhisattva (also a National Treasure) last year. The current images were taken by the Institute’s SHIRONO Seiji with the assistance of TAZAWA Hiroyoshi and OKIMATSU Kenjiro of the Tokyo National Museum. KOBAYASHI Tatsuro and EMURA Tomoko were also involved in the project. A Painting of the Thousand-armed Kannon (a National Treasure) is a typical Buddhist painting from the Heian Period. Buddhist paintings from the Heian Period display delicate beauty in subtle features that distinguish these works in the history of Japanese paintings. Thus, observing the subtle features displayed is crucial. The current images surpass what is visible with the naked eye. Beauty unique to Buddhist paintings from the Heian Period is apparent in the painting’s subtle features. In the future, the Institute will jointly examine the information obtained with specialists from the Tokyo National Museum.