Important Cultural Property
Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu
(Some of the works of theLegends about the origin of Seikō-ji temple, emaki
Color on paper
Muromachi period/15th century
Tokyo National Museum
This is a two-volume picture scroll on the origin and history of Seikoji Temple and the miracles of its principal deity, Jizo Bodhisattva, also known as Yanefuki Jizo (Jizo repairing a roof) and one of the six Jizos (bodhisattvas) in central Kyoto. The articles on January 27 and February 29, 1487 of Sanetaka Koki (Sanetaka's diary) show that Sanjo Sanetaka wrote the legend to the Seikoji Engi-e (paintings of the origins and history of Seikoji Temple) drawn by Tosa Mitsunobu. Therefore, it used to be generally believed that the two existing volumes together with the legend constituted the standard work of Mitsunobu. However, at present, it is considered to be a quality copy of Mitsunobu's original work, which was made soon after Mitsunobu's original work was created. Nevertheless, the paintings in the scroll constitute the standard work of the late 15th century.
Inside the residence of Taira no Sukechika (first volume, act 1), the governor of Yamashiro, paintings can be seen on papered sliding doors (fusuma-e), which depict a Mokkei-type bamboo groove and monkeys. The reed and crane fusuma-e paintings surrounding Sukechika's bedroom (first volume, act 3) are also drawn in sumi ink (suibokuga). It is interesting to see how much yamato-e (Japanese paintings) painters have mastered the suibokuga techniques through the fusuma-e. The panels of a folding screen form one large, continuous scene without borders that used to be applied every two panels to divide the screen into sections.