Monday, December 17, 2007

Choju Gija - Frolicking Animals

It is not unusual for animals to be given human characteristics in art; but these Japanese scroll paintings, emaki, from the 12th century AD seem to be an early example of that. Because of the satirical way the characters in the art are presented, the anthropomorphic animals, and the simple line drawing style, the scrolls look very much like cartoons. Take a look at what appears to be a copy of the animal sequence from the scrolls here. To get a better idea of what the scrolls look like click here.

Japanese antique art often gives the impression of being difficult to understand. Within this field, the four scrolls titled "Choju-Giga" (short for Choju-Jinbutsu-Giga and meaning Frolicking Animals and Figures) have been well known as works that viewers of all ages can enjoy. The scrolls, depicting animals dancing and jumping around with various expressions, have been highly acclaimed as masterpieces of Japanese painting history and also attract attention as the origins of Japanese manga and character culture. The scrolls that are usually held by Kosanji Monastery in Kyoto's Togano-o district will be gathered and displayed with existing fragments and copies from other locations to reveal the entire picture of the "Choju-Giga" in this exhibition to explore the essence of Japanese culture through the "Choju-Giga" legacy.


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