[ return to the Hachiman Handscrolls home page ] [ view the first part of the Hachiman handscroll ] [ view the second part of the Hachiman handscroll ] [ return to the main Smith College Museum of Art site ]


Introduction

The handscroll is a unique format of East Asian painting. Invented in China, it was brought to Japan in the eighth century where it developed into a distinctly Japanese style. This particular pair of lavishly ornamented handscrolls illustrates the legends of the Shinto deity Hachiman.

The paintings, which date to the mid-seventeenth century, are rendered in the yamato-e style favored by the members of the Tosa school to which they are attributed. Both the painting and the calligraphy exemplify the highly refined styles favored by the court at the start of the Edo period (1615-1868). A grant from the Freeman Foundation has made it possible to view each scroll in its entirety online.

Click below to see the scrolls

First Scroll | Second Scroll