Handscroll; ink and color on paper
Image: 35.3 x 1028.8 cm (13 7/8 x 405 1/16 in.); Overall: 37 x 1067 cm (14 9/16 x 420 1/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1953.358
This scroll is treasured as the second oldest surviving version of this story.
This handscroll shows the second half of an odd tale in which a ne’er-do-well seeks the path to quick fortune and learns the art of musical flatulence. Prior to a major performance, a mentor (and competitor) advises him to consume morning glory seeds, a laxative. Thus, while performing he fouls himself and ends his days in humiliation.
The audacious nature of this story and its presentation—well-animated figures with dialogue adjacent to the appropriate moments of action—create a primitive graphic novel. Japanese visual humor about farting preceded this story, but the satirical, mean-spirited twist in this tale suggests its intent was not merely to be humorous. The story was likely commissioned by court officials who disapproved of common performers rising to high positions, outflanking what was the accepted social order.
The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.