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Masks: Beauty of the Spirits


Saturday, April 25 - Tuesday, June 30, 2015


10AM 6PM

(Last admission: 17:30)
Main building + Gallery 1, Annex
The second and fourth Wednesdays of the month
(5/13, 5/27, 6/10, 6/24)
Exhibition admission
Admission Tickets
Adults Group
Adults ¥1,200 ¥960
University students(Vocational students) ¥960 ¥760
Middle & high school students ¥600 ¥480
65 and above ¥600 ¥480
Masks: Beauty of the Spirits Images

Musée du quai Branly in Paris, located on the bank of the Seine River and designed by architect Jean Nouvel, has been attracting attention from around the world since it first opened its doors in 2006, and has quickly become established as one of the city‘s cultural highlights. This exhibition draws on the museum’s treasure trove of rare and precious items collected from Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas to explore the fascinating world of masks, and is the first large-scale exhibition of the musée du quai Branly collection to take place in Japan.
In putting on masks, people throughout history have come face to face with nature, allowing the invisible powers of gods and the spirits to transform them into performers, actors, storytellers. Masks belong in the liminal space between people, gifted with both physicality and the power for reflection, and the world surrounding them. In donning masks representing animals, gods or spirits, or perhaps characters in a story, and in the dancing and singing that frequently accompanies this act, the wearers become one with their masks. It is in this transformation of the wearers into hybrid entities, possessing the powers of both their selves and their masks (also therefore standing for otherness), that the doors to a yet-undiscovered realm are flung open. What the diverse masks from all across the world featured in this exhibition have in common is their breathtaking imaginative force, as made evident in the uniqueness of their shape, materials, or scale.
Laying bare the true fascination of this vital form of representation, the exhibition explores the true essence of the mask and what it means to us in today‘s world.  (The exhibition comprises around 100 masks.)

Exhibition Title
Masks: Beauty of the Spirits
Saturday, April 25 - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum,(Main building & Gallery 1,Annex)

The second and fourth Wednesdays of the month
Opening times
10:00 - 18:00
  • (Last admission: 17:30)
Exhibition admission
Adults ¥1,200 (¥960)
University students ¥960 (¥760)
Middle & high school students ¥600 (¥480)
65 and above ¥600 (¥480)
  1. Dress-Up Discount: Masks
    We are offering a 100 yen discount on admission to those who come wearing designs or patterns inspired by masks or faces.

    NB: Surgical masks are not included. We ask visitors to refrain from wearing masks inside the exhibition for the safety of the other customers and the art works. Please be aware that security staff will be enforcing this rule, and will ask any visitors wearing masks to remove them.

  2. Admission is free for elementary and younger students and for middle school students residing or going to schools in Tokyo.

Organized by
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, The Asahi Shimbun
Musée du quai Branly
Ambassade de France / Institut français du Japon
Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.
Air France
With the annual co-sponsorship of
Toda Corporation

Other Related Events
We are currently planning other related events. Details will be announced on the museum website nearer the time.

Exhibition Symposium

April 25 (Sat) 14:00–16:00
Venue: Gallery 2, Annex
“Masks – Beauty of the Spirits”
Yves Le Fur (Musée du quai Branly, Executive Curator of the Exhibition)
“Art Museums, or Another World: Can ‘Primitive Art’ Be Overcome?”
Yukiya Kawaguchi (Professor of Literature, Rikkyo University)

*Free of charge to those with museum tickets, no need for reservations
*The speech will be in Japanese or French, with consecutive interpretation into Japanese.


Masks Learning Programme

There will be a special learning corner in the Welcome Room of the Main Building for the course of the exhibition. As well as a ‘masked photo-booth’, where you can take photographs of yourself and your friends and family wearing masks, we will also have mask-inspired storytelling and graffiti. We hope that this corner will help get everyone’s creative juices flowing, from small children to adults alike.