Rare exhibition focusing on animals in Japanese art on display in U.S.

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WASHINGTON, June 5 (Xinhua) -- From foxes and frogs to mythical animals such as dragons, phoenixes and kappa river sprites, in religious or secular, the first exhibition focusing on animals in Japanese art spanning 17 centuries is now on display at the U.S. National Gallery of Art in downtown Washington D.C.

The rare exhibition, titled the Life of Animals in Japanese Art, features more than 300 works from the fifth century to the present day. Among nearly 180 works travelling from Japan, many rarely, if ever, leave the island country, including seven designated as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government, according to the curators.

The selection thus takes an expansive look at the representation of animals in Japanese art in a variety of art forms, including painted screens, hanging scrolls, woodblock prints, netsuke, ceramic plates, kimono, and samurai helmets. Many have close links with the historic influence of Chinese culture.

To explore the many roles animals have played in Japanese culture, objects on display are divided into thematic sections: Ancient Japan; The Japanese Zodiac; Religion: Buddhism, Zen, Shinto; Myth and Folklore; The World of the Samurai; Exotic Creatures and the Study of Nature; The Natural World: Creatures on Land, in the Air, and in Rivers and Seas; and The World of Leisure.

The exhibition started on June 2 and runs till Aug. 18. Enditem

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