Important Cultural PropertyEmaki of Tengu Story, Enryaku-ji temple scroll

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  • Color on paper
  • 29.6x1510.1
  • Kamakura period/13th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • A-31-2

Tengu Zoshi is a picture scroll depicting a story that makes a caricature of the conceited mind and immoral behavior of the monks of various sects at large temples in the late Kamakura period by comparing them to tengu (goblins with long noses). However, at the end of the story, these tengu goblins are religiously awakened and attain Buddhahood. It is assumed that originally conceit was categorized into different types and temples and sects were assigned to each type. The Toji scroll tells the history of the Shingon sect initiated by Kobo Daishi and the paintings depict the Golden Pavilion of Toji Temple, a Deva gate, a dancing scene at the Cherry Blossom Viewing Party at Daigo and a big temple atop Mt. Koya. The Enryakuji scroll tells stories of Denkyo Daishi and Jikaku Daishi and the paintings depict Buddhist buildings on Mt. Hiei. These two scrolls owned by the Tokyo National Museum are in the form of the so-called engi-e (paintings depicting the origin and history of a temple) and do not contain caricatured tengu scenes, except a few glimpses of tengu on the mountains and between pagodas in the background of the Enryakuji episode. The paintings represent authentic yamato-e (Japanese paintings) techniques of the late Kamakura period and constitute valuable materials in the history of art.

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