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92 Items in this Learning Collection

Copyright
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Ôtsu-e: Benkei with a Halberd (Naginata Benkei)

Accession Number
1964/2.101

Title
Ôtsu-e: Benkei with a Halberd (Naginata Benkei)

Artist(s)
Japanese

Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
18th century

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink and color on paper

Dimensions
24 in. x 9 in. ( 60.96 cm x 22.86 cm )

Credit Line
Museum purchase for the James Marshall Plumer Memorial Collection

Label copy
These paintings are examples of Otsu-e, a type of folk painting originating not far from Kyoto in the present-day Shiga Prefecture towns of Otsu, Oiwake, and Otani. Due to Otsu’s prime location on the Eastern Sea Road linking Kyoto with Tokyo, paintings from Oiwake and Otani eventually became subsumed under the title of Otsu-e. Initially religious in content, Otsu-e proliferated in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century when Christianity was officially banned; they could be purchased easily and hung in the home as proof of Buddhist piety. Otsu-e were produced with cheap local materials and stencils were used to facilitate mass production, making them affordable even to the lower classes.
By the latter half of the seventeenth century, Otsu-e became more secular. The Thunder God (Raijin), for example, a powerful and ferocious figure, could be seen comically fishing for his drum, carelessly dropped in the ocean. Mischievous demons, like the one on display, were depicted in priest’s garb begging for alms. Here the painting is accompanied by text, which became common on images with moralistic messages poking fun at society. These humorous paintings had strong popular appeal, and made their way into the art and literature of famous Edo period figures. Otsu-e with iconography associated with beneficial powers would later function as amulets.
(Gallery Rotation Fall 2011)
Gallery Rotation Fall 2011
Demon Soliciting Alms (Oni no Nembutsu)
Japan, Edo Period (1615–1868)
18th century
Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper
Museum purchase for the James Marshall Plumer Memorial Collection, 1964/2.102
Benkei with a Halberd (Naginata Benkei)
Japan, Edo Period (1615–1868)
18th century
Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper
Museum purchase for the James Marshall Plumer Memorial Collection, 1964/2.101
The Thunder God Fishing for his Drum
Japan, Taisho Period (1912–26)
20th century
Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. J.E. Val-Mejias, M.D., 1987/1.368
These paintings are examples of Otsu-e, a type of folk painting originating not far from Kyoto in the present-day Shiga Prefecture towns of Otsu, Oiwake, and Otani. Due to Otsu’s prime location on the Eastern Sea Road linking Kyoto with Tokyo, paintings from Oiwake and Otani eventually became subsumed under the title of Otsu-e. Initially religious in content, Otsu-e proliferated in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century when Christianity was officially banned; they could be purchased easily and hung in the home as proof of Buddhist piety. Otsu-e were produced with cheap local materials and stencils were used to facilitate mass production, making them affordable even to the lower classes.
By the latter half of the seventeenth century, Otsu-e became more secular. The Thunder God (Raijin), for example, a powerful and ferocious figure, could be seen comically fishing for his drum, carelessly dropped in the ocean. Mischievous demons, like the one on display, were depicted in priest’s garb begging for alms. Here the painting is accompanied by text, which became common on images with moralistic messages poking fun at society. These humorous paintings had strong popular appeal, and made their way into the art and literature of famous Edo period figures. Otsu-e with iconography associated with beneficial powers would later function as amulets.

Subject matter
This painting is an example of Otsu-e, a type of folk painting originating not far from Kyoto in the present-day Shiga Prefecture towns of Otsu, Oiwake, and Otani. Otsu-e were produced with cheap local materials and stencils were used to facilitate mass production, making them affordable even to the lower classes.
By the latter half of the seventeenth century, Otsu-e became more secular. This humorous painting among other Otsu-e had strong popular appeal, and made their way into the art and literature of famous Edo period figures. Otsu-e with iconography associated with beneficial powers would later function as amulets.

Physical Description
This painting portrays Saito Musashibo Benkei holding a halberd. Benkei was a Japanese warrior monk, a popular subject of Japanese folklore. Here the painting is accompanied by text, which became common on images with moralistic messages poking fun at society.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Additional Object Classification(s)
Painting

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
calligraphy (process)
figures (representations)
folk art (traditional art)
weapons

2 Related Resources

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved