The Mona Lisa --- the priceless lady with the enigmatic smile -- has gone on show in Tokyo under heavy armed guard and the watchful eyes of the French authorities.
GV Truck carrying Mona Lisa arrives at museum (2 shots)
SV Security guards around truck as truck reverses to doorway
SV Mona Lisa carried from truck to museum
GV Exterior Museum
GV Banners in street advertising Mona Lisa exhibition
SV PAN from passers-by to bust of Mona Lisa
TV People walking past while artist draws picture of Mona Lisa.
LV PAN People selling pictures of Mona Lisa
SCU Portrait of Mona Lisa on sale (3 shots)
CU PAN from sign to people walking in street
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Mona Lisa --- the priceless lady with the enigmatic smile -- has gone on show in Tokyo under heavy armed guard and the watchful eyes of the French authorities.
It is only the second time the painting has been taken abroad from its home at the Louvre since Leonardo da Vinci took it to France more then 450 years ago. The first showing abroad was in the United States in 1963.
A massive security operation was put in force long before the painting arrived in Tokyo and was installed in the Museum on Wednesday (17 April). The French withheld the date of the painting's departure from Paris, and the route from Tokyo's Haneda airport to the Museum was not disclosed.
The Mona Lisa -- enclosed in a triple glass container which is bullet and heat proof -- is guarded by 30 policemen and 10 plainclothes officers, as well as 20 Museum guards. An undisclosed number of guards will patrol the Museum grounds.
The masterpiece has been insured by Japan, but no one is prepared to give the exact amount.
Although the public will have to wait until Saturday (20 April) to see the Mona Lisa, a special opening ceremony attended by 400 invited guests will be held the previous day, hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka.
The Mons Lisa has also been brought into the fight against inflation. One poster shows a sour-looking Mona Lisa carrying a shopping bag full of high-priced groceries.
The exhibition closes on 10 June.