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1. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, generally referred as LACMA, is a place to go with your family of friends for a weekend. It is one of the biggest museums in the USA, and has the collections that could become an object of interest to the people of the most diverse views. The museum management is always trying to improve its functionality, and attract more people to visit it, and this can be done by staying ahead of the competition. One of the steps museum made was making an exhibit of Japanese Art by establishing a pavilion solely for this purpose, and this makes me as a visitor very happy, as I get a chance to learn more of the Japanese art this way.

The pavilion for Japanese Art was designed a few decades ago by Bruce Goff, who was also a famous architect. Museum employees try to improve the level of attractiveness of the exhibit by bringing on new, original items, found in the most remote locations. This way, the Japanese Art exhibit developed over the years to its current state, when it holds a collection of thousands Japanese works of art. They are kept in perfect, or almost perfect condition, as some of them cannot be restored due to the peculiarities of their design or construction.  Some pieces of art seem to be almost ruined, but this gives visitor an opportunity to think and add the missing part using imagination. Some of the exhibited items are dated back up to 3000 years BC, while there are the latest pieces of art, created only years ago, but carrying the immense significance to the Japanese culture. The galleries of the Japanese pavilion contain archaeological materials, sculptures, ceramics, various textiles, weapons and armor, paintings, and netsuke. Such a variety cannot but make me extremely delighted with the exhibition, and it I would like to return here for more than once and study all the art pieces once again, enjoying them at most.

2. During a visit to the museum and studying the Japanese Art exhibition, my attention was gripped by one piece of art that definitely stands out compared to all the rest. The Female Shinto Deity is one of the unique sculptures, dated back to the fourteenth century. It represents the epoch of the Medieval Japan, when Buddhism gained high popularity, and hundreds of new sculptures appeared yearly, being displayed to the public. Shinto, an original religion of the Japanese people, was presented with much less statues, but they no less significant, as the particular one. It was made of wood, and luckily it got preserved till our time, keeping its original shape and without losing of any of its parts. The sculpture has very similar look with the drawings of the court members, as a deity is wearing a court robe. Moreover, it is very realistic, and reminds a real person, unlike the supernatural representations of gods in the Buddhism. Such sculptures, and probably this one as well, were usually kept in the closed shrines, not available for the sightseeing by the people, unlike the Buddhist sculptures, made especially for the opposite purposes. This particular sculpture is made to show only half the person, as if it were cut in two parts, and we can see the top half of the body. The robe hides everything, and the only visible part of the deity’s body is the face.

My knowledge of the Japanese culture is not as full as I would like it to be, but it allows me to make certain comparisons and conclusions. The sculpture of the deity is a representation of the struggle of Shinto, the indigenous belief of the Japanese, and Buddhism, which took over Shinto, but could not get an absolute domination. Shinto had a very long history and was very well established, thus it survived and continued existing, relying on its culture and continuing to develop, producing pieces of art similar to Female Shinto Deity.  

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