Susano’o no Mikoto Summoning Clouds

Artist: Kimura Ritsugaku (1827-1890)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, 1890
Ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W: 205.1 x 71.4 cm (80 3/4 x 28 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Kenneth Folger Crafts
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

cloud, dragon, Japan, kakemono, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), Susanoo, WWII-era provenance

From late 19th-century
Arthur May Knapp (died 1906), Yokohama, in the late 19th-century [1]

To 1997
Kenneth Folger Crafts, Mahwah, NY, by descent, to 1997 [2]

From 1997
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Kenneth Folger Crafts in 1996 [3]


[1] According to a letter from the donor (dated November 14, 1984), Arthur May Knapp was a U.S. Consul in Yokohama in the late 19th-century (see Curatorial Note 2, Ann Yonemura, August 20, 1997, in the object record).

[2] According to Curatorial Note 2, Ann Yonemura, August 20, 1997, in the object record.

[3] Transferred to the Freer Permanent Collection from the Freer Study Collection on May 27, 1997 (see Curatorial Note 1, Elizabeth F. Duley, May 27, 1997, in the object record).

Previous Owner(s)

Kenneth Folger Crafts
Arthur May Knapp died 1906


Susano'o no Mikoto, a deity variously associated with water, storms, and the underworld, is here portrayed as a hero who extracts from the tail of a dragon the sword that becomes one of the three sacred objects of the imperial regalia, symbolic of the legitimacy and authority of the emperor. Sacred jewels in the curved form known as magatama and the sacred mirror used to lure the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami from her cave when she refused to emerge are also part of the Japanese imperial regalia.
Accounts of the deities who established the Japanese nation had attracted the interest late in the Edo period (1615-1868) of Japanese scholars who sought to counterbalance the strong influence of Chinese ideas. During the Meiji era, the prominent and powerful public role of the emperor stimulated popular interest in ancient stories of Japanese deities and their roles in establishing the nation and the imperial line of rulers.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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