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.

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

  1. This such a unique experience and I am very excited to know that our university has such items within our collection! Once this pandemic is over I too hope to see the scrolls in person! Thank you very much for supporting the course!

  2. I’m a student studying about Supernatural Japan and I just heard that there are emaki scrolls available for students, which is excellent!
    It’s a shame that I can’t take a look at the moment, but I sure will check them out when the pandemic is over. Thank you!

  3. The emaki are wonderful. Very useful for a deeper study of Japanese Yōkai, history and art. Thank you for supporting the new course.

  4. I am a student in Supernatural Japan. Being able to handle the scrolls helped me understand their function in Heian Japan in a way that wouldn’t have been possible with the pre-tutorial reading alone. I felt a more vivid understanding of a distant medieval Japan which I usually don’t feel in Edinburgh’s other courses on pre-modern Japan, which lack real hands-on materials, so I believe the scrolls really do contribute to the Japanese degree course. I would be pleased to have similar hands-on opportunities later on in my degree.

    • Hi, Morgan, you are most welcome! We have just acquired another 5 scrolls:

      Scroll of Frolicking Animals *there are 4 kinds(甲・乙・丙・丁)of this title
      The Tale of Genji
      Shigisan engi (3 vol. set),
      Scroll of Hungry Ghost
      Scroll of Hell

      They will all be kept in CRC and can be consulted there once we have catalogued them for DiscoverEd.

      Best, Shenxiao

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