June 2024 message from the Executive Director

“We are Shingon Buddhist monks from Hasedera in Nara, Japan.We have visited Norwich to pray for people’s happiness and world peace.We would like to thank you for welcoming us so kindly.Our country is very far from the UK. However, the skies of both countries are connected as one.So we believe that our souls also can be united as one.We truly hope that our prayers will bring the light of mercy and wisdom to the spirit of the people of Norwich.Thank you.” Above is a transcript of the special 願文 (ganmon or prayer) that Numajiri-san, the leader of the 総本山長谷寺 (Hasedera) priests, read out in English during their last chanting. The […]

Report on the talk ‘Building for the Sovereign and the Buddha: artisans and labourers in eighth-century Japan’

Ellen Van Goethem is a scholar of early Japanese Buddhism and Shinto working at the University of Kyushu. Her talk on the 16 May was a wonderful way to kick off a nine-day celebration of the Nara to Norwich project and the 25th anniversary of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures. Ellen’s work is focused on the long eighth-century and, as with Nara to Norwich, crosses the disciplinary boundaries between art history, archaeology and history. The talk began with Ellen posing the question, who were the artisans and construction workers responsible for the construction of capital cities which, at the time, were new and technologically […]

Nara to Norwich: A week of celebrations for the Sainsbury Institute’s 25th anniversary

From Monday 20 – Saturday 25 May, the Sainsbury Institute was delighted to bring an ambitious display of information boards, artworks and a 12m replica scroll from the Hase Temple in Japan right to the heart of Norwich. Suspended in full from the ceiling of the Atrium at The Forum, the scroll formed the centrepiece of an exhibition focusing on two of our current major research projects, Nara to Norwich and the Later Prehistoric Norfolk Project. Sunday 19 May As The Forum closed to the public late on Sunday evening, the Nara to Norwich project team made their way to the venue for the install of the scroll. Packed into […]