Fragment of Choju jinbutsu giga (Frolicking Animals and Figures), tei scroll

  • Kamakura period
  • 13c
  • Hanging scroll, ink on paper
  • H-30 W-80.5
    Handed down in Kozanji
Catalogue Entry

The Kozanji Frolicking Animals and Figures scrolls consist of four separate scrolls and the most famous of the group, the Ko scroll, is particularly famous for its humorous and lively depiction of animals and birds. These four scrolls were painted during the late Heian and Kamakura periods, and the Cho scroll, a fragment of which is shown here, was painted during the Kamakura period. This scroll uses extremely rough brushwork to show Buddhist priests enjoying all sorts of pleasures and there are some who believe that this scroll was a priest's amusement. This fragment was separated from an existing scroll at some point in its history and shows figures on horseback next to a scene of a sumo match. In other words, this fragment straddles two separate scenes from the original scroll. The despair seen on the face of the defeated sumo wrestler is particularly interesting.