W ith its current exhibition of National Treasures from Yakushi-ji Temple, the Tokyo National Museum is offering a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see masterpieces of ancient Buddhist and Shinto art. For the first time ever, they are being displayed in a museum so that they can be studied much more closely than they can in their usual temple setting.

Great care has been taken with lighting and installation, and in the case of the two stars of the show, the seventh-century bronze bodhisattvas of the sun and the moon that usually flank the main Buddha image in Yakushi-ji, ramps have been constructed so that the statues can be seen from different angles. (You will have to go to the temple in Nara to see the central Buddha of the triad in situ, although it is well-illustrated in the catalog accompanying the exhibition.)

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