Kyoto Shimbun 2014.7.7 News

"Choju-giga" Restored and Unveiled
Kyoto National Museum

On July 7, Kyoto National Museum, in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, unveiled a part of the National Treasure "Choju-jinbutsu-giga," or Animal-Person Caricatures, restoration of which has just been completed after four years, to the press. The lively animal depictions have come into the present and will be on display to the public from October 7 at the museum.

"Choju-giga" are picture scrolls in four volumes, owned by Kosan-ji Temple, in Ukyo Ward. Kyoto. They were drawn from the late Heian Period to the Kamakura Period. The characteristic concept of the scrolls is that various animals, including rabbits, frogs, foxes and others, are depicted as if they were human beings. They are also called "Japan's oldest cartoons." Their repair work started in 2009 and was completed last March.

Two of four volumes have been exhibited. The renowned "Ko-no-maki," or the first volume, powerfully depicts scenes where animals such as rabbits, frogs and others are sumo wrestling, with lively brush strokes.

Through this restoration work, it was found that the third volume, called "Hei-no-maki," in which human and animal paintings were drawn half–and-half, was originally painted on both sides of a piece of paper. It was then remade into a single-sided volume, judging from the ink stains.

A special exhibition "Masterpieces of Kosan-ji Temple" will showcase all volumes. The first and second sessions will be held from October 7 to November 3 and from November 5 to November 24, respectively.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= "Ko-no-maki" of the restored scrolls "Choju-giga," the National Treasure, was shown to the press (3:10 p.m., July 7, Kyoto National Museum, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto)