detail: archer poised with bow at full draw
This website examines a pair of 40+ foot long Japanese handscrolls dating to the early Edo period in the mid-17th Century. They were a 2003 gift to the Smith College Museum of Art by by Ann and Lucien H. Case (Ann Hargett, class of 1954).
The handscroll form was developed in China and reached Japan by the 8th century. This pair of scrolls showcases the yamato-e style used by the Tosa school, which allows scholars to attribute and date the objects.
These scrolls are examples of the emakimono (picture scroll) form: a particular type of Japanese handscroll, which tells a story in calligraphic text and illustrates the story with lavishly expressive paintings. The first scroll depicts a military invasion of Silla (one of the Korean “Three Kingdoms” that existed before the first Korean unification in 918 CE) by the Japanese Empress Jingū , who ruled 201-269 CE. After the successful campaign, which is aided by the warriors’ deity Hachiman, the second scroll documents the founding of a shrine to the god in the outskirts of Kyoto.