"Episodes from the Three Kingdoms", a set of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 AD) illustrations, is on display during a preview of the "Three Kingdoms: Unveiling the Story" exhibition at Tokyo National Museum in Tokyo, Japan, July 8, 2019. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)
TOKYO, July 9 (Xinhua) -- With 161 pieces of precious Chinese cultural relics, the exhibition of "Three Kingdoms: Unveiling The Story" began to mesmerize visitors at Tokyo National Museum in the Japanese capital on Tuesday.
In order to let Japanese audience have a deeper understanding of the cultural essence of China and strengthen the cultural exchanges between the two countries, Chinese and Japanese experts spent three years visiting more than 50 cultural institutions in more than 20 provinces and autonomous regions in China to select many precious relics.
The relics, including 42 first grade Chinese cultural relics, are expected to reproduce the historical features of the Three Kingdoms period which last from 220 AD to 280 AD in the ancient history.
The exhibition specially selected the latest archaeological findings and research results from excavation of Cao Cao Mausoleum, the tomb of an ancient Chinese king. The audience can see a restored imitation of the tomb chamber after passing through a dark passage. Guan Jar, a first grade cultural relic excavated from the Mausoleum displayed in the chamber, is the earliest white porcelain product discovered so far, 300 years older than other similar relics.
A visitor looks at a Guan jar excavated from the mausoleum of Cao Cao (155-220 AD), a leading warlord of the Three Kingdoms period, during a preview of the "Three Kingdoms: Unveiling the Story" exhibition at Tokyo National Museum in Tokyo, Japan, July 8, 2019. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)
The exhibition also recreated some classic stories from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, such as the battle of Chibi, and the battle of borrowing arrows with thatched boats, depicting ancient Chinese military commanders' wisdom.
In the exhibition hall, 1,100 arrows suspended from the ceiling and 400 arrows on the opposite wall are displayed, replicating the battle scene on the water so that visitors can feel the density of arrows fired in the ancient battle.
Money Tree, another first grade relic, draws visitors' attention with broad-shaped branches and leaves unfurling in all directions, decorated with images of the ageless Queen Mother of the West and a Taoist immortal riding on a deer. The branches are festooned with about 400 bronze coins, showing intricacy and delicacy of ancient Chinese craftsmanship.
A visitor takes photos of the exhibit "Money Tree" (R) during a preview of the "Three Kingdoms: Unveiling the Story" exhibition at Tokyo National Museum in Tokyo, Japan, July 8, 2019. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)
On one side of the exhibition wall, a large snake spear model longer than three meters meets the audience's curious eyes. According to the exhibition, snake spears were used in the southwestern region of China's Yunnan province in the second century BC, with actual snake spears often found at various historical sites. With the deification of Zhang Fei, a famous military commander in the Three Kingdoms period, there is still a lot of debate about whether Zhang Fei really possessed a snake spear.
In addition, the exhibition also displays the original manuscript of the Three Kingdoms manga by Japanese cartoonist Mitsuteru Yokoyama, drawing die-hard manga fans.
Dressed in a T-shirt embroidered with a map of the Three Kingdoms, Torahiko Hara, a big fan who works at Sony digital entertainment service, told Xinhua that he was interested in the Three Kingdoms because of his love for Yokoyama's cartoons. He said that he not only saw his favorite cartoons in the exhibition, but also understood more about the ancient history and was deeply touched.
The exhibition is the largest China-themed display ever held by the Tokyo National Museum, with 85 percent of the exhibits on display in Japan for the first time, said Zeniya Masami, executive director of the museum.
Zhou Ming, deputy director of the Art Exhibitions China, said that he believes the exhibition would arouse new enthusiasm among the Japanese people for the culture of the Three Kingdoms and help them gain a deeper understanding of the history.
According to the exhibition, the Three Kingdoms period began around 1,800 years ago amid the chaos of the Eastern Han dynasty. The events of this time and tales about the rise and fall of the era's various warlords were recorded and later became popular legends.
They provided the inspiration for numerous works of poetry, literature and painting, leading to the formation of a rich and colorful "Three Kingdoms culture" that still resonates to this day.
Up to now, the stories of the Three Kingdoms have been continuously developed in various forms in Japan, including novels, comics, puppet shows and games, with many characters of the Three Kingdoms familiar to the Japanese people.