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#TBT: After Half a Century, Shinto Deity Returns to Asia Society Museum


The U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and her husband Edwin Schlossberg view 'The Shinto Deity Hachiman in the Guise of a Buddhist Monk,' on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, at the opening of the Asia Society Museum exhibition 'Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan,' February 2016. (Elena Olivo/Asia Society)

Mysterious celebratory forces have drawn Asia Society and a splendid Kamakura-period (1185–1333) sculpture of the Japanese Shinto Deity Hachiman in the Guise of a Buddhist Monk, from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, together again for our 60th anniversary. The sculpture of the Shinto Deity Hachiman in the Guise of a Buddhist Monk was one of 34 spectacular works from American collections brought together for Asia Society’s first exhibition in 1960.

“With this first exhibition, The Asia Society pays tribute to all the countries of Asia, whose rich and varied art has contributed so much to world culture,” wrote John D. Rockefeller 3rd in his foreword to the exhibition catalogue. Hachiman is now on view again at Asia Society in the Museum’s acclaimed exhibition, Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan, on view through May 8, 2016.

Kōshun (active 1315–1328)
The Shinto Deity Hachiman in the Guise of a Buddhist Monk

Kamakura period, dated 1328
Polychromed Japanese cypress (hinoki) with inlaid crystal eyes
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Maria Antoinette Evans Fund and Contributions, 36.413

Occasionally for "Throwback Thursday" (#TBT), we'll reach into our archives to find a photo from the organization's 60-year history. Some photos will feature important moments, some will feature important people, and others still will just be photos we love. Do you have an Asia Society photo you'd like us to consider including in this series? Please email the photo and any related details to [email protected] (we regret that we won't be able to respond directly to each inquiry).


'The Shinto Deity Hachiman in the Guise of a Buddhist Monk' installed in Asia Society’s inaugural exhibition, 'Masterpieces of Asian Art in American Collections,' 1960.


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