Important Cultural PropertyKohon Setsuwashū (a collection of old stories)

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  • 1 folding book
  • Ink on paper
  • 23.3x14.8
  • Kamakura period/13th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • B-3182

This is a copy of Kohon Setsuwashu, a collection of narrative stories about nobles, literati, ladies-in-waiting, Buddhist services, and priests, which was transcribed by three calligraphers. This is a teccho-style booklet where sheets are folded in half and bound with a string. The first half contains 46 narrative stories related to the virtue of waka (katokusetsuwa) and love stories surrounding Daisaiin Senshi Naishino, Izumi Shikibu, Seisho Nagon, and Ki no Tsurayuki. The latter half contains a total of 24 Buddhist narrative stories, such as a folklore related to the restoration of Kofukuji Temple and the legend of Warashibe Choja. Since the story of the saint in Shinano-koku (the 65th story) corresponds to the legend of the Shigisan Engi picture scroll, this booklet serves as a valuable material that shows the style of the incipient phase of narrative literature in Japan.