Past Exhibitions

Portraiture Handscrolls
January 23, 2018 - February 18, 2018

In China, long handscrolls containing portraits of emperors or important priests have been produced since ancient times. In Japan, however, portrait handscrolls date only from the burgeoning of portraiture as a painting genre in the Kamakura period (1185–1333). Placing the portraits of different people side by side in handscroll format naturally conveys a sense of hierarchy and succession from right to left, and can thus authenticate familial lines or religious lineages of teachers and disciples. For this reason such works are highly treasured by the families or temples as representations of their history. As you view these scrolls, look not only at the distinctive representations of individuals but also at the interesting and sometimes strange sequences in which they are aligned.

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