Important Cultural Property
5 hanging scrolls
Color on paper
Kamakura period/14th century
Tokyo National Museum
A-26, A-1294, A-10446, A-10491, A-11951
Sagoromo Monogatari (The Tale of Sagoromo) is a story that tells the history of the love affairs of Sagoromo-chūjō (deputy officer of the security department of the palace; he becomes the chief officer later), and the sequence of events until he assumed the throne, centering on his unrequited love for his cousin Geniji-no-miya (miya: a member of the emperor's clan), who was brought up under the same roof with him.
The story became so popular that it was even regarded as a parallel to Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) and had a significant influence on Japanese literature in the medieval period. The popular edition consists of four volumes, with volume one and two divided into two parts, while volume three and four are divided into three parts, respectively. The painting style is detailed, as is shown in the hikime-kagihana (slit-eyes and hooked-nose) depictions of the faces of the aristocrats. The style inherits the tradition of tsukuri-e, the painting method that applies pigments thickly, while the depictions are to some extent formalized.
The treasures that had been evacuated to Touei-zan Kannei-ji Chūdou (lit. the central hall of Kannei temple of Mt. Touei), including the instruments belonging to the tea ceremony room of the Tokugawa shogunate, were believed to have been burned and lost completely amidst the civil war between the Meiji government and Shougitai in Meji 1 (1868). However, some of the paintings (four scenes) in the part one of the first volume of Sagoromo Morogatari-emaki were found later, together with the burned traces of the lower parts of the paintings. It was divided by collectors into the present six scrolls.