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Eras Journal - Sara Sumpter

Abstract of "The Shôkyû version of the Kitano Tenjin engi emaki: A brief introduction to its content and function"

This article examines the political and social atmosphere surrounding the production of the thirteenth-century hand scroll Kitano Tenjin engi emaki (Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine), which depicts the life, death, and posthumous revenge of the ninth-century courtier Sugawara no Michizane. The article combines an analysis of the content and religious iconography of the scroll, a study of early Japanese beliefs in angry spirits of the dead, and a narration of the actual life of Michizane in an attempt to produce a sketch of the rituals and superstitions of Heian and early Kamakura period Japanese society, and to suggest possible functions of the handscroll that complement them.