Byodoin Museum Hoshokan

Opened: March 1, 2001

Byodoin Hoo-do is the most concentrated space of National Treasures in Japan, where buildings, sculptures, paintings and crafts are united.
Around Hoo-do, the remains of Jodo Garden which only number a few of similar stature in Japan are spreading, and conveying the very rare historic environment in which buildings and the garden are integrated.
Homotsukan (Treasure Museum), which was completed in 1965, has played an important role in preserving and disclosing such National Treasures as Door paintings, Hoo, Temple Bell and Unchu Kuyo Bosatsu Statues, but as it has aged, Hoshokan was opened as a new museum.
A new Treasure Building preserves and discloses National Treasures of arts and crafts preserved in excellent condition and is arranged as part of the premises environment mainly comprised of Hoo-do.
Byodoin opened “Hoshokan” the first general museum (registered museum) of a religious corporation on Thursday, May 1, 2001.

Overview

“Hoshokan” has played an important role of preserving and disclosing such precious heritage of National Treasures as Door paintings, Hoo, Temple Bell and Unchu Kuyo Bosatsu Statues.
In connection with the aging of Homotsukan (completed in 1965), it has been reborn as a museum, the preservation environment of which was improved with the introduction of advanced facilities.
Mr. Akira Kuryu (Architect, Professor of Chiba University) designed the museum and while most of it adopted an underground structure in order to realize an appearance in harmony with the landscape of the garden, which was designated as a historic and beautiful site, mainly comprised of Hoo-do, the design was made with lighting such as intentionally allowing in natural light.
Further, it also gave consideration to the structure taking advantage of the spatial nature for exhibits, by using glass wall cases, one of the largest in Japan.
“Hoshokan” exhibits many treasures together and introduces the exhibitions of restored images, utilizing the latest digital technology and the national treasure search system with ultra-high resolution images.

Features

This is the first general registered museum of a religious corporation in Japan. Most of the building structures were built underground, considering the harmony with the landscape of the garden of Byodoin, a garden known as a historic and beautiful site.
While it was built underground, the design was made with light and lighting such as intentionally allowing in natural light.
It has a structure which utilizes the spatial nature for exhibits by using one of the largest glass wall cases in Japan.
National Treasure, Temple Bell, National Treasure, 26 Unchu Kuyo Bosatsu Statues (out of 52 statues), National Treasure, A Pair of Hoo, Important Cultural Properties, 11 Faces Kannon Standing Statue, and City Designated Taishakuten Statue, City Designated Jizo Bosatsu Statue (all of them are from the Heian Period) are permanently exhibited.
The museum is equipped with a realistic image reconstruction of the inside of the Hall by computer graphics using the latest digital technology and national treasure search system by ultra-high resolution images.

Required Time: about 50 minutes

Major Collection Exhibitions

National Treasures  1 Temple Bell, 26 Unchu Kuyo Bosatsu Statues and A Pair of Hoo
Important Cultural Property  11 Faces Kannon Standing Statue
Uji City Designated Cultural Property  Taishakuten Statue and Jizo Bosatsu Statue, etc.
Other  Excavated Unearthed Articles (Demon’s Head Tile from the Heian Period, Eaves Tile from the Construction Period and Clay Pottery from the Construction Period, etc.)
 Reconstruction Images (images by computer graphics using the latest digital technology)
 National treasure search system (search for various national treasures, which are regarded as the most representative of Heian Art by ultra-high resolution images)

Size of Facilities

Structure  RC structure + iron frame structure, 1 basement and 1 story above ground
Site Area  30,600m²
Building Area  816.04m²
Total Floor Area  2249.42m²
Purpose of Use of Facilities  Homotsukan
Composition of Facilities  Exhibition Room, Storage Room, Museum Shop
Required Time  about 50 minutes

Hoo

Bronze casting and gold impregnation forging
North Statue: Height: 98.8cm Total width: 34.5cm
South Statue: Height: 95.0cm Total width: 44.5cm
Heian Period, 11th century

These are a pair of Hoo (Phoenix) situated at the end of the north and south of the main ridge of the Hoo-do Chudo (Central Hall). Amidado has been called “Hoo-do” since the early modern period as the appearance looks like a bird with a long tail spreading wings and it has the ridge decoration of Hoo on the roof. Here, the statue situated at the right to Hoo-do, which was built to the east, is called the North Statue and the statue at the left is called the South Statue, but both Statues were removed and stored in the old Homotsukan to be preserved to prevent their corrosion from air pollution, and the second generation Statues newly created are situated on the main ridge.
The first generation Hoo can be seen in Hoshokan now.

Temple Bell

Bronze casting
Total height: 199.0cm, Ryuzu (Cannon) height: 41.8cm, Shade height: 10.9cm
Body height: 146.0cm, Bell toll spot diameter: 19.7cm, Bell diameter: 123.0cm, Bell thickness: 12.0cm
Heian Period, 12th century

The Temple Bell was hung in the Bell Tower built by the garden and pond in the south of Hoo-do. It was removed and stored in the Homotsukan to be preserved to prevent their corrosion from air pollution and a new reproduction of the Bell is hung in the Bell Tower. This is one of the bells representing the Heian Period and was famous for one of the “Three Beautiful Bells on Earth” among “Byodoin Bell of Beautiful Figure,” “Onjoji Bell of Beautiful Sound” and “Todaiji Bell of Power.” On the Bell, a dragon head with bristling mane directly above is decorated and hoo and dancing heavenly beings are portrayed on the pattern of Hosoge-Karakusa (intricate imaginary five-petal flowers.
The bell can be seen in Hoshokan now.

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