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Current ExhibitionsSpecial Exhibition
Manuscripts from the Naito Collection in the National Museum of Western Art

Tuesday, 11 June - Sunday, 25 August 2024
9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Fridays, Saturdays 9:30 am – 8:00 pm
Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time
Mondays and 16 July (Opens 15 July, 12 August and 13 August)
Special Exhibition Wing
Admission Fees
Adults 1,700 yen, college students 1,300 yen, high school students 1,000 yen
  • * Admission is free for junior high school students and under.
  • * Disabled visitors admitted free of charge, with one attendant. Please present your disability identification upon arrival.
  • * College students, high school students and disabled visitors must show their relevant student ID, proof of age or disability status document upon entry to the museum.
  • * Students and faculty members at National Museum of Art Campus Member institutions may view this exhibition on specially priced tickets (students = 1,100 yen, faculty members = 1,500 yen). These tickets are available at the National Museum of Western Art Ticket Office.
  • * You can also see the permanent exhibition on the same day of viewing this exhibition.
  • * Some works will be replaced during the exhibition period.
  • * August 3rd (Sat.) is “Lively Saturday” at the NMWA. Talking in the galleries is encouraged on this special free admission day.

Official online tickets外部リンク

Organized by
The National Museum of Western Art, The Asahi Shimbun
With the cooperation of
The Western Art Foundation
Traveling Venue
Sapporo Art Museum Saturday, 7 September– Sunday, 29 September 2024

PDF file 5.89MB

In medieval Europe with no printing technology, manuscripts were the principal medium to support the people’s creed and convey wisdom. Scripts were transcribed by hand on parchment made from thinly prepared sheep, calf, and other animal skin. Manuscripts requiring massive time and effort to be produced could, at times, become great luxuries. Some were decorated with lavish illumination and were often sublimated into first-class artworks.

In FY 2015, Dr. NAITO Hiroshi, professor emeritus at the University of Tsukuba and Ibaraki Prefectural University of Health Sciences, kindly donated his collection of manuscript leaves en bloc to our museum. Between then and 2020, with additional support from Dr. Naito’s friend Mr. NAGANUMA Akio, we were able to add twenty-six more manuscript leaves to the collection.

The Naito Collection has been introduced in three small exhibitions at our museum between FY 2019 and FY 2020. However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it cannot be denied that the displays remained rather small in scale. In view of such circumstances, we planned this exhibition to present the majority of the Naito Collection collectively to the public anew. Ever since receiving the donation of Dr. Naito’s collection, we have been seeking the cooperation of experts in Japan and abroad to survey the individual works. This exhibition will also be an opportunity to disclose the fruit of such research.

This exhibition consists of approximately 150 works, mainly from the Naito Collection with a few additional works on loan from university libraries in Japan and one item which Dr. Naito has kept for himself to this day. It is compiled to examine the role of manuscripts and the characteristics of illumination in Bibles, Psalters, Books of Hours, Antiphonaries, Graduals, etc. which were used widely in the Middle Ages. We hope you will enjoy the “medieval microcosm” of beautiful illumination, in which, alongside its function as a book, calligraphy and illustrations are unified.

Exhibition Checklist (PDF file, about 669KB)PDF

  • image:Leaf from the Saint Albans Bible Paris, France
    Saint Louis Master (Mahiet?)(illumination)
    Leaf from the Saint Albans Bible Paris, France
    1325-50 Colors, ink and gold on parchment Naito Collection
  • image:Leaf from a Liturgical Psalter Bologna, Italy
    Giovanni di Antonio da Bologna(illumination)
    Leaf from a Liturgical Psalter Bologna, Italy
    1425-50 Colors, ink and gold on parchment Naito Collection
  • image:Leaf from a Liturgical Psalter Florence, Italy
    Don Simone Camaldolese(illumination)
    Leaf from a Liturgical Psalter Florence, Italy
    ca. 1380 Colors, ink and gold on parchment Naito Collection (Naganuma Fund)