Unformatted text preview: temporary outdoor altar (fig. 29). Scene from the Animal Scrolls (Benrido Company) Fig. 29 Scene from the Animal Scrolls (Benrido Company) Fig. 28 The Advent of a New Age 89 Emaki were produced during the next few centuries on a variety of
themes, including battles, the lives of famous priests, and the histories of
noted temples. One of the finest of these is the Tale of Heiji Scroll, which
deals with the conflict in 1159 (known as the Heiji Conflict) in which the
Ise Taira under Kiyomori vanquished their Minamoto rivals and began
their rise to power in Kyoto (fig. 30). The scroll is actually in three parts,
the first of which is a long, panoramic view of the Burning of the Sanjò
Palace, during which the Minamoto kidnaped the abdicated emperor Goshirakawa (1127–92) and precipitated the Heiji Conflict. This part of
the Heiji Scroll was obtained by the American Ernest Fenollosa (1853–
1908) in the late nineteenth century and placed in the Boston Museum of
Fine Arts, where it remains today, one of the most treasured of Japanese
art works held outside Japan.
The Burning of the Sanjò Palace depicts, from right to left (all scrolls
are “read” from right to left), three scenes: (1) a great horde of people,
including warriors and others, rushing to the Palace; (2) Minamoto
wreaking destruction and havoc in the palace, from which smoke and
flames billow; and (3) Minamoto escorting the carriage of the abdicated
emperor from the palace. Although I speak here of three scenes, the
Burning of the Sanjò Palace is, in fact, presented as a single panorama.
The scroll’s anonymous artist has brought the three separate scenes
together in a continuous flow by using the device, found in some scrolls,
of showing different moments of time as though they were occurring
simultaneously. By means of this device, a person can, for example, appear two or three times in the same panorama.
Stylistically, the Heiji Scroll—particularly its first part, the Burning of
the Sanjò Palace—shows the extraordinary skill of Japanese artists of the
time (it was painted in the thirteenth century) in capturing people, especially groups of people, in action. From the standpoint of military history, the Heiji Scro...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.
- Spring '13