SECTION 1How Have Humans through the Ages Viewed the Universe?

This section focuses on one part of historical cosmologies: human views of the universe down the millennia, looking at myths and religious art objects from east and west, plus priceless astronomy material.

Participating Artists

  • Kitayama Yoshio
  • Kitawaki Noboru
  • Maeda Yukinori
  • Mwkaiyama Kisho
  • among others

Items on View

  • Leonardo da Vinci’s sheets from Codex Atlanticus
  • Antiquarian books on astronomy by Galileo Galilei and on Ptolemy (Ptolemaeus)
  • Star Mandala, Mandala of the Two Realms, Tibetan Mandala, the Twelve Devas
  • Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) handscroll
  • Rare Renaissance and Edo-period astronomy materials including celestial globes, charts, telescopes and calendars
  • Meteorite sword
  • and more

Yamāntaka Mandala, Tibet
17–18 century
Panel, color on cotton
61 × 51.5 cm
Kitamura Collection

Okayoshi Kunimune
Meteorite Sword
Meteoric iron
68.6 cm (length), 1.5 cm (curvature)
Collection: Tokyo University of Agriculture Library
Photo: Kioku Keizo

Unraveling the Secrets of the Universe from a Buddhist Perspective: the Multidimensional Cosmos in Ancient Mandala

From the Nanbokucho through Muromachi periods, we present the Mandala of the Two Realms, Star Mandala, and the Twelve Devas depicting the deities of the twelve directions, joined by a Tibetan Mandala and other displays in an exploration of cosmologies with an Asian worldview or Buddhist perspective.

Japan’s Legendary Meteorite Sword Forged from Meteorite Iron

View a sword made from an iron meteorite that fell on Toyama prefecture during the Meiji period, exploring the connection between outer space and our own planet via this precious ancient Japanese weapon.

With Lenses Still Crystal Clear 150 Years on: Edo Period Gunsmith Crafts Japan’s First Own Astronomical Telescope

Astronomical telescope made during the Edo period by gunsmith and self-taught telescope maker Kunitomo Tobei Shigeyoshi (Kunitomo Ikkansai) of Omi (present-day Shiga Prefecture), Japan.