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Past Exhibitions
The Golden Legend

The Golden Legend

Friday 16 October 2015 - Monday 11 January 2016
9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Fridays 9:30 am - 8:00 pm (Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time)
Mondays except 2 November, 23 November, 4 January and 11 January. Closed on24 November, 28 December to 1 January.
Organized by
The National Museum of Western Art, The Tokyo Shimbun, TBS
With the support of
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Japan, The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, Embassy of Italy in Tokyo, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Tokyo, Embassy of Greece in Japan , Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Tokyo, BS-TBS, TBS Radio& Communications
With the sponsorship of
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.
With the cooperation of
Alitalia – Societa’ Italiana S.p.A., Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines The Western Art Foundation
Admission Fees
Adults 1,600 yen, College students 1,200 yen, High school students 800 yen
Advance purchase/Discount fees for groups of 20 or more
Adults 1,400 yen, College students 1,000yen, High school students 600 yen
Advance purchase tickets will be on sale until Thursday 15 October. At the museum ticket office, advance ticket will be available until Wednesday 14 October.
For ticket sales from other than the museum's own ticket office, see the exhibition websiteExternal link.
Full admission fees apply from Friday 16 October.
Junior high school and younger children admitted free of charge.
Disabled visitors admitted free of charge with one attendant. Please present your disability identification upon arrival.
Traveling Venue
The Miyagi Museum of Art
Friday 22 January 2016 - Sunday 6 March 2016
Number of visitors
Aichi Prefectual Museum of Art
Friday 1 April 2016 - Sunday 29 May 2016

The lake-like Black Sea expands deep in the hinterlands of the Mediterranean region. The Bosporus Strait is the entrance to the Black Sea from the Mediterranean, and is renowned as a difficult sea-lane. According to Greek mythology, the hero Jason successfully sailed his ship Argo through this treacherous strait; his goal, the Golden Fleece of a kingdom on the shores of the Black Sea. With the help of Queen Medea, Jason acquired the Golden Fleece, and thus grew the legend of the Black Sea region as concealing golden riches. But, about 40 years ago it was discovered that this was something more than simple legend. Tombs were found in the Bulgarian town of Varna on the Black Sea coast that contained a massive number of golden burial goods. These funerary goods are known today as the world’s oldest golden items, dating to more than 6,000 years ago, even before the oldest pyramids in Egypt. The deceased, reduced to bones today, were found holding golden staffs and wearing large gold armlets. The round pieces of gold scattered around the skeleton were the decorations on the clothing that once garbed the deceased. This exhibition presents a reconstruction of the contents of tombs as they appeared when they were discovered, alongside the display of paintings recounting the legend of Jason and the Argonauts' pursuit of the then ancient Golden Fleece.

Then some three millennia after the golden treasure of the Black Sea, goldsmithing of incomparable intricacy and quality flourished on in the Etruscan civilization on the Italian Peninsula. The superb artistry of Etruscan gold, whose technologies remain a mystery today, can be seen in the renowned golden armlet from the Vatican Museums. This exhibition presents numerous masterpieces of gold work from the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean region, along with paintings on the theme of gold, reminding us that the human fascination with the material gold is as old as mankind.

Lectures and Slide Talks will be also held at a museum. Please visit each page for details.

Exhibition checklist (PDF File, about 328KB)PDF

Due to condition concerns, Ring (cat. no. 254) will not be displayed. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this change.

Some displays will be changed during the course of the exhibition.

Gustav Klimt Poster for the 1st Secession Exhibition (Before Censor)(cat. no. 187)
*Displayed October 16 to November 23
Gustav Klimt Poster for the 1st Secession Exhibition (After Censor) (cat. no. 188)
*Displayed November 25 to January 11, 2016