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Arts of Japan series : print #3 - more keyblock carving

Posted by Dave Bull at 2:35 AM, July 12, 2012 [Permalink]

Just a quick little update this evening ... the first face of the block set for this image is now done:

Any Japanese readers now know exactly what this image is, and where it is taken from. Can any of the overseas readers pin it down?


Following comment posted by: Steve on July 13, 2012 4:04 AM

is it from the Chōjū-giga?

Following comment posted by: Steve on July 13, 2012 4:12 AM

indeed, this looks similar...


Following comment posted by: Dale on July 13, 2012 4:18 AM

This has to be from one of the earliest known scrolls, the Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga, drawn in the 12th century. I did find a picture of the page that Dave has carved: http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalemaki/2535848009/in/photostream/

I never saw a frog that big, or alternatively, a rabbit that small!

Following comment posted by: Steve on July 13, 2012 4:23 AM

in any case it looks like a rabbit goading a frog and another rabbit(?) while wrestling, or maybe even the rabbit is a gyoji for a frog/rabbit sumo match!

Following comment posted by: Dave on July 13, 2012 9:14 AM

People frequently refer to this image from the 鳥獣人物戯画 as the 'sumo scene', but as the scroll was created hundreds of years before sumo came into existence, I think they are simply fighting/wrestling for some reason ...

Following comment posted by: Marc Kahn on July 13, 2012 11:05 AM

It looks like a bit more than wrestling. That frog is biting off the rabbit's ears. The rabbit is screaming out in pain. This could get ugly. The rabbit just to the right of the action seems to be protesting, but the next rabbit over seems to be amused.

Some strange goings-on!

Following comment posted by: Mark Mason on July 16, 2012 8:15 AM

Fantastic, Dave.

I've mentioned this scroll a few times on my blog, it's truly a secret world treasure, and certainly a Japanese National Treasure.
To view the scroll's satirical anthropomorphic images and compare it to any of the art produced in the West around the same time (Late 11th century - if memory serves me) is truly enlightening. Beautiful beautiful.

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