- Museum number
Painting, six-panel screen, right of pair with Jap.Ptg.Add.346. Scenes at Hie Shrine, with pilgrims arriving and leaving. Ink, colour, gold and gold leaf on paper.
- Production date
Height: 149.40 centimetres
Width: 355 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Around the frame are Mitsu-kashiwa mon (crests), which are associated with shrines in general, and with objects presented to shrines. The mon of Hiyoshi shrine is the Futaba-aoi, which apparently relates to the sanctuary’s connection to sanctuaries in Kyoto like Shimogamo Shrine.
Matthew McKelway (7/2019)
Pair with 1949,0709,0.10. Older, more correct pronunciation Hiyoshi Shrine (rather than Hie Shrine). Kano Hiroyuki, 04/01.
This pair of screens provides an elaborate illustration of an event in the calendar of the Hie Sanno shrine, near Lake Biwa, in central Japan. In the middle of the right-hand screen is the shrine complex. On the second panel from the right a red torii (shrine gate) marks the beginning of the pilgrims' path. The screen is highly informative in its depiction of the appearance and activities of the people of the time. Some can be seen watching a juggler, whilst others are making merry with picnics, accompanied by rice-wine.
The Sanno festival begins on the first day of the 3rd (lunar) month and finishes with the Boat Festival' on the fourteenth day of the 4th month, as shown on the left-hand screen. Participants carry seven mikoshi (portable shrines), one for each of the deities of the shrine, down to the beach on the lake. These are then placed on boats which race south to Karasaki (indicated by the pine on the third panel from the right) in order to make the first offering. The large, elaborate shrines can be seen here on board these boats, surrounded by oarsmen, warriors, and priests.
The festival was well attended, and was popular as a theme for paintings. Examples by artists of several schools survive. The present work has certain characteristics of the Tosa school, but in its details is more like the Chinese-influenced Kano school.
The screens have recently been completely rebuilt and the paintings conserved in the Hirayama Studio at the British Museum, with funding generously provided by the Art Research Foundation, Tokyo. (Label copy, TTC 2001)
Hizo Nihon bijutsu taikan Vol 1
The screen shown here on the right has already been introduced in the volume 'Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections: The British Museum, volume 1' (Kodansha; 1988), under the title 'Scenes at the Hie Shrine'. However, another screen painting by the same artist, also illustrating social customs of the day, was recently discovered, and the two have now been confirmed to have been executed as a pair. The more recently discovered work, shown here as the left-hand screen, depicts the most important annual event held at the Hie Sanno Shrine - the Sanno Festival (also known as the Hie Festival, the Sakamoto Festival, and the Sakamoto Sanno Festival).
This is a long festival running from March 1 to mid-April, with its climax being the "boat festival" depicted in the left-hand screen. Participants in this festival carry a separate palanquin shrine, or 'mikoshi', for each of the seven deities enshrined at Hie - Omiya, Ninomiya, Sannomiya, Shoshinshi, Marodo, Juzenji, and Hachioji - over the long pilgrimage path from the shrine to the beach, with its renowned seven willows, at the edge of Lake Biwa. This is the spot where Wakamiya Hachiman is enshrined. At water's edge, the 'mikoshi' are placed on boats that then head south toward the Karasaki offing, where each of the offertory boats vies to be the first to present its "Awazu offering."
Critical opinion is divided on the identities of the painters of the assorted screens depicting this festival, variously placing the artists in the traditions of the Kano, Kaiho, Tosa, and Iwasa schools. With regard to the identity of the painter of the British Museum screens, though at first glance the Tosa school comes to mind, the work also bears unmistakable similarities in its various details to paintings in the Chinese style associated with the Kano school. This issue will only be settled with further study.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001, 30 Jan-8 Apr, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Arts of Japan: Recently repaired paintings, Ukiyo-e IV'
2011 Jun- 2011 Oct, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the present'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Jap.Ptg.Add.345 (Japanese Painting Additional Number)