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Horse Doctors, emaki
Important Cultural Property
1 scroll
Color on paper
Kamakura period/13th century
Tokyo National Museum
For military men in the Kamakura period, horses had an exceptional significance. This picture book shows herbal remedies for those horses. Each picture has a colored box on the upper part, with the name of doctor or herbs written on it. This painting has the following ten names of doctors from Japan and China: Hakuraku, who is a guardian-figure of medical study for horses, Iou-houyaku(医王法薬), Raikou(頼公), Togun(東群), Ten(天), Ōnamura, Ouryou, Hangai, Shinnou, and Echigono Tansuke. For each of them, the date of death on the Chinese zodiac calendar, birthplace, attributed mantra, and the name of attendants are also included, and the horses tethered in the stable are painted accordingly. After that part, seventeen medicinal herbs are introduced with pictures, which are Yakushi-sou, Hoyaku-sou(法薬草), Ōbako-sou, Mokuso-den(木草伝), Atohazaki, Kusanoou, Kinu-kusa(衣草), Hotokenomae, Shikiziki(色々), Chousou-gusa(長小草), 狸尻巾, Batou-sou(馬頭草), Kanzou-den(甘草伝), Akomen-sou(阿古免草), Dentchi-sou(伝地草), Tenso-sou, and Hotokenoza. Their other names are also shown. In addition, it shows the Chinese references and the manner of initiation of those secrets.
Both figures and herbs are depicted chiefly with lines colored in the pale tones of blue, green, and red. The realistic style of the herbs is worthy of attention.
At the end of the book, okugaki (postscript that provides information about the work) says "七郎兵衛尉泰相伝之on January 26, Kouin (name of certain Januaries on the Chinese zodiac calendar), Bunei 4 (1267), the year of Teibou (name of certain years)."