Ban Dainagon Ekotob : a premium replica of the late 12th-century Japanese emakimono (picture scroll)

The Library has just purchased a beautiful reproduction of a late 12th-century Japanese emakimono (絵巻) – a set of 3 illustrated narrative picture scrolls called Ban Dainagon Ekotob (伴大納言絵詞 The Tale of Great Minister Ban). The full-colour painting depicts the events of the Ōtemmon Conspiracy, an event of Japan’s early Heian period. The painting, attributed to Tokiwa Mitsunaga, is over 20 m (66 ft) long and about 31.5 cm (12.4 in) tall. The original art work is considered to be Kokuhō (國寶, or a Japanese national treasure) among six such rare and invaluable picture scrolls. Information about their replica can be found here.

The reproduction was published by Chikuma shobo (筑摩書房) in 1971-1974 in a limited edition of 1000 copies. Our Library copy has the set number ’84’. The 3 hand-scrolls are placed individually in 3 wooden cases, each accompanied with a booklet. The set has been catalogued for the Centre for Research Collections. See the bibliographic record in DiscoverEd here.

The material has been purchased in response to needs for a Japanese Studies course called “Supernatural Japan: doing Japanology through Yokai”. As the course takes a ‘learning by doing’ approach, allowing students to experience Yokai in art, literature to discover the historical and cultural value of Yokai in Japanese society, this set of 3 hand-scrolls will give a rare opportunity of authentic reading experience for students of Japanese Studies or anyone interested in Japanese art, history and culture.

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