Past Exhibitions

Handscrolls of Popular Stories: The Fart Scroll (Fukutomi zōshi) and Otogi zōshi
February 23, 2016 - March 21, 2016

During the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), a large number of new illustrated narratives (otogi zōshi) portraying not only artistocrats but also characters drawn from the common people were created, and widely enjoyed in the form of booklets or picture scrolls. A precious, outstanding early example is the Fukutomi zōshi (Fart Scroll), a comical tale of common people competing to perfect the art of musical flatulence. Their cheerful facial expressions overflow with a vitality not seen in earlier portraiture. Other examples include the Tsuchigumo zōshi (Earth Spider Scroll), recounting fantastic exploits of the warrior Minamoto no Yorimitsu (also known as Raikō) and his loyal retainers, the Four Guardian Kings, and the Takiguchi engi, a tragic tale of a couple's love involving the theme of monastic seclusion. The works in this section provide a fascinating glimpse into the diverse world of otogi zōshi handscrolls enjoyed by the medieval populace.

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