Sculptures, paintings, pottery and various other artefacts related to Zen Buddhism form the backbone of the National Museum's autumn special, which traces the impact of this strictly minimalist sect's impact on Japanese art and culture over a period of more than 800 years. Although its origins are said to reach back to sixth-century India and China, Zen first arrived in Japan during the Kamakura period (1192–1333), quickly securing the backing of the ruling classes. However, it was not until the mid-Edo era, largely through the efforts of influential priests such as Hakuin Ekaku (1685–1768), that Zen was recognised among the general population. Remembering this giant of the Rinzai school, the second largest Zen grouping in Japan, 'The Art of Zen' contains a particularly noteworthy selection of Rinzai art. In total, the exhibition features more than 300 pieces – including 24 works designated as National Treasures – and is chronologically organised into five sections.
Note that some of the displays will be changed between the first (October 18-November 6) and the second (November 8-27) parts of the exhibition.