Tokyo, Idemitsu Museum of Art

Ban Dainagon Ekotoba Facsimile Edition

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Composed in late 12th-century Japan, the Ban Dainagon Ekotoba is one of the best-known examples of otoko-e style (masculine painting) from the early Heian period. It comprises three full-color handscrolls illustrating the events of the Ōtemmon Conspiracy, during which Ban Dainagon set fire to the Ōtemmon gate of Kyoto and blamed his political rival for the disaster. The unsigned scrolls, attributed to Tokiwa Mitsunaga, feature bright colors and calligraphic lines that are used to define the characters.

The Ban Dainagon Ekotoba was crafted using a combination of two styles: the otoko-e (or masculine) style characterizes the first two scrolls, with their vividly colored scenes of turmoil and unrest, while the third scroll, more intimate and introspective, is an example of onna-e (feminine) style.

The story begins in the first scroll, where the gate is shown burning in the great fire set by Ban Dainagon, an official in the imperial court also known as Tomo no Yoshio. When asked to testify to the emperor, Tomo no Yoshio accuses another official of causing the incident. Meanwhile, people are seen fleeing from the flames.

In the second scroll the accused official, Minamoto no Makoto, prays to the gods and Buddha for forgiveness, although he is not culpable. Next, children are shown fighting in the street, later joined by their fathers who speculate on the rumor that Tomo no Yoshio is the real culprit.

The third scroll depicts the arrest of Tomo no Yoshio, who is sent to exile after a servant accidentally revealed his guilt. In the last sequence, several women are seen weeping and grieving while they watch Tomo no Yoshio being taken away in an ox cart.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Ban Dainagon Ekotoba": Ban Dainagon E facsimile edition, published by Yushodo Co., 2003

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Ban Dainagon E

Tokyo: Yushodo Co., 2003

  • Commentary (Japanese) by Kuroda,Taizo
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Ban Dainagon Ekotoba: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

The Tale of great minister Ban facsimile edition features a commentary volume and 3 scrolls of different size: part 1 is 31.5×839.5 cm; part 2 is 31.5×858.7 cm; part 3 is 31.5×931.7 cm.

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