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Kanō school, Ibuki-dōji ('Boy from Mt. Ibuki'), a set of 3 handscroll paintings

 

Height: 312.000 mm (each)
Width: 868.000 mm (first scroll)
Width: 868.000 mm (first scroll)
Width: 868.000 mm (first scroll)

Asia JA JP 174-6 (1881.12-10.0269-0271)

    Kanō school, Ibuki-dōji ('Boy from Mt. Ibuki'), a set of 3 handscroll paintings

    Japan
    Early Edo period, late 17th - early 18th century AD

    Shuten dōji ('The Sake-Drinking Boy') was a popular medieval narrative work telling the tale of a boy who acquired supernatural powers and grew up to be a fearsome ogre. The story was illustrated many times, and is known in two main versions, locating the site of his youth as either Mt. Ibuki in ōmi province or Mt. ōe in Tamba province. This set of scrolls is unusual, however, because it focuses on the boy's birth and upbringing, and incorporates both locations.

    The pictures are interspersed with passages of text, describing how the boy was abandoned on Mt. Ibuki, and was attended by various supernatural beings. He learns how to fly, but is chased away by various divinities, and eventually settles on Mt. ōe. Here, we see a scene from the second scroll where the perpetually drunken boy is causing havoc in the street of a village, wildly waving a stick which he uses to beat the horses and oxen. The people immediately recognize him and fall over themselves to get away. Only a dog sits unmoved, barking at the commotion.

    The scroll is lavishly executed with richly coloured illustrations and extensive use of gold. This was the style of the Kanō school, and versions survive by major artists such as Kanō Motonobu (1476-1559) and Kanō Tan'yū (1602-74). This set, however, is thought to date from around the time of Kanō Tsunenobu (1636-1713).

    I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-1, vol. 2 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)

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