This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for art lovers.
Ancient Japanese silk paintings will be on display at the National Gallery of Art starting Friday, March 30, 2012.
The artworks travel to Washington for the first time ever. After two years of planning between the U.S. and Japan, the paintings have arrived.
The exhibit opens on the centennial year of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. "Colorful Realm" includes 30 scroll paintings from the 1700s featuring birds and flowers.
Artist Ito Jakuchu created them more than 250 years ago.
The works are rarely available for public view, even in Japan.
"The artist, he's an 18th century painter, who is at this point, recognized as the most celebrated painter in pre-modern Japan," said Yukio Lippit, guest curator of the exhibit.
"I can simply say it's 'Wow!' said Yoshimi Inaba, President & COO Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
"This is really exceptional. This gave us a golden opportunity to thank the American people for their tremendous generosity and friendship given to the Japanese people at the time of the disastrous tsunami one year ago," Inaba said.
The exhibit will be available until April 29, 2012.
Lippit says the exhibit has been set up to recreate what it would have looked like when it was originally displayed in a Zen temple.
"So, what we've done is reconstructed the monastic milieu, and when you stand in the middle of the exhibition space, and are surrounded by the paintings, you're really immersed in the Buddhist cosmology that the flora and fauna are supposed to represent as a whole."
"You feel the way in which they serve as a ceremonial backdrop, and you feel a kind of teeming quietude, a kind of inner life or energy somehow coming from...emanating from within the paintings themselves," said Lippit.