The Tale of Shuten Doji

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Historical period(s)
Edo period, 17th century
Ink, color, gold and silver on paper
H x W (overall): 32.5 x 1479.9 cm (12 13/16 x 582 5/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Edo period (1615 - 1868), emaki, Japan, Shuten Doji, Tale of Shuten Doji
Provenance research underway.

This is the first scroll of a set of three; the artist and calligrapher are unknown. Painted on paper, the usual material for handscrolls, the scrolls are generously embellished with golden clouds that help define and focus the narrative. The pictorial compositions here are more compact than on the larger set in this exhibition, which is painted on silk. The samurai prepare for their journey to Shuten Doji’s hidden castle after they receive the imperial order to destroy the monster and pray to the Shinto gods for assistance. They are guided by an elderly man and two others who are actually gods of three Shinto shrines in human form.

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