Shigisan Engi Emaki

The Shigisan Engi Emaki (信貴山縁起絵巻, lit. "Legend of Mount Shigi Emaki") is an emakimono or emaki (painted narrative handscroll) made in the second half of the 12th century CE, during the Heian period of Japanese history (794–1185).[1][2] It is an illuminated manuscript detailing miracles attributed to the monk Myōren, who lived on Mount Shigi near Nara in Japan in the latter part of the 9th century.[3]

Shigisan Engi Emaki
ja: 信貴山縁起絵巻
Detail of the "flying granary" scene
Completion date
SubjectLegends of Mount Shigi
  • 31.7 cm × 878.27 cm (12.48 in × 345.78 in);
  • 31.82 cm × 1,275.85 cm (12.53 in × 502.30 in);
  • 31.7 cm × 1,417.43 cm (12.48 in × 558.04 in)
DesignationNational Treasure
LocationNara National Museum, Nara

The tales are composed in the genre of engi, a narrative that chronicles the founding of a Buddhist or Shinto establishment. In the case of the Shigisan Engi Emaki, the establishment is Chōgosonshi-ji, where Myōren used to live. The pictorial style of the work, known as otoko-e, or "men's pictures", is characterized by active movement, outdoor scenes and a certain feeling of lack of restraint. Otoko-e is part of a broader style of Japanese painting called Yamato-e. The work is a prime example of both Heian period scroll painting and Yamato-e, as most of the early scroll and Yamato-e paintings are now lost.[2]

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