Outline of Exhibition

Traditional plants of the Seasons: Autumn "Antique Chrysanthemum"

The chrysanthemum is thought to have originally been introduced into Japan in the Nara or Heian period, but in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods it was cultivated based on a unique Japanese sense of beauty, resulting in the creation of the Saga-giku and Ise-giku chrysanthemums. The Edo period also saw the cultivation of the Edo-giku chrysanthemum, which boasts a variety of shapes and has a long blooming period, as well as the Higo-giku chrysanthemum, which has a unique shape. These variants spread throughout Japan, with each region cultivating its own variety. These original Japanese chrysanthemums, which had been bred by modern times, are referred to as koten-giku, or antique chrysanthemums. Antique chrysanthemums even spread to Europe, where they were popular and became closely associated with Japan, despite the fact that the flower actually originated in China. Today, however, many of these chrysanthemums are being lost at an alarming rate due to the reintroduction of varieties from Europe that have been modified, and are barely managing to be maintained by through the efforts of temples and a small number of enthusiasts.

Since 1999, the National Museum of Japanese History has collected strains of the antique chrysanthemums that have only barely survived. Using its collection of live samples, the museum aims to encourage people to learn about the history of chrysanthemums, which forms a part of Japanese history, by introducing them to the world of antique chrysanthemums that prospered from the Middle Ages to modern times.

Dates Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - Sunday, November 28, 2004
Venue The Botanical Garden of Everyday Life, The National Museum of Japanese History

JPY 100 for elementary school students on up.

Hours 9:30 - 16:30 (visitors admitted into Garden no later than 16:00)
Organizer National Museum of Japanese History