Art & Design

Nara: Sacred Images from Early Japan

3 October - 24 November 2019

Daily 10:00-17:00 / Fridays open until 20:30

Room 3 and Room 93, British Museum, Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG

020 7323 8000

Nara, in the Yamato region of Japan, was the country’s capital from AD 710 to 784 – and the cradle of traditional Japanese culture.

This special display runs in two rooms: the Asahi Shimbun Displays (Room 3) have treasures from Hōryūji, one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples, dating between the AD 600s and 700s, while the Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries (Room 93) feature sacred sculptures and paintings from the great temples and shrines of Nara, from the AD 700s to the 1400s.

The Buddhist religion was introduced to Japan from China and Korea in the AD 500s, along with writing and new forms of government, transforming indigenous culture. For most of Japanese history, Buddhism has flourished alongside Shinto, native beliefs in kami (deities of nature and ancestors). In Nara, Shinto kami came to be regarded as emanations and protectors of Buddhist deities.

The Asahi Shimbun Displays Hōryūji, temple of the exalted law (Room 3)
The great temples and shrines (Room 93)

Free admission.


Symposium Nara: faith and renewal
Friday 4 October 2019, 10.00–17.00
Saturday 5 October 2019, 10.00–12.15
BP Lecture Theatre

The international symposium Nara: faith and renewal celebrates the opening of two special displays at the British Museum of loaned Buddhist and Shinto treasures, Nara: sacred images from early Japan (3 October – 23 November 2019).

Speakers will give important historical and cultural background to three key historical periods in Nara: the AD 700s, around 1200, and the 1560s to the present.

Free, booking essential.
For more details click here.