Scroll on paper depicting the story of “Momotaro” [“The Tale of Peach Boy”]. Tale of MOMOTARO EMAKI.
Scroll on paper depicting the story of “Momotaro” [“The Tale of Peach Boy”].
Scroll on paper depicting the story of “Momotaro” [“The Tale of Peach Boy”].
Scroll on paper depicting the story of “Momotaro” [“The Tale of Peach Boy”].
Scroll on paper depicting the story of “Momotaro” [“The Tale of Peach Boy”].
Scroll on paper depicting the story of “Momotaro” [“The Tale of Peach Boy”].

Painted by Goshun Matsumura

Scroll on paper depicting the story of “Momotaro” [“The Tale of Peach Boy”].

Brush & ink and colors. Scroll (284 x 13,800 mm.), fine front endpaper with silk & gold. [Japan: late Edo].

A very beautiful and accomplished scroll, painted by Goshun (or Gekki) Matsumura (1752-1811), founder of the Shijo school of painting, “which combined elements of shaseiga (‘life-drawing painting’), developed by Maruyama Okyo, and Bunjinga (‘literati painting’), practised by his early mentor Yosa Buson…The name Shijo school reflects the location of Goshun’s painting studio on Shijo (fourth) street in Kyoto.”–Oxford Art online. As a painter, Matsumura had a mastery of the use of space while maintaining complete control of the brush.

Our scroll, which has Matsumura’s characteristic seal of his first name at the beginning, depicts the famous Japanese folklore story of Momotaro (“Peach Boy”), which first appeared in the late Muromachi period (1392-1573). It was passed down orally until the Edo period, when it became portrayed in picture scrolls and, later, in illustrated printed books. By the Meiji period, the story was known to every Japanese child and was one of the five most beloved folk tales throughout Japan. During World War II, Momotaro was used in wartime propaganda.

Our scroll is very finely painted and reveals Matsumura’s mastery of landscape, color, facial emotions, and lively brush strokes.

In a series of 18 scenes, we see the story of Momotaro unfold. The first scene depicts an old woman washing clothes at the river. She sees a giant peach floating by. The next scene shows her carrying the peach back home. Following this, we see her elderly husband waiting for her arrival at the front gate. After opening the peach, they discover a small child in samurai attire, who explains that he is a gift from the gods to be their son. The next scene depicts the husband and wife preparing a meal in their house for Momotaro and themselves.

The next scene shows Momotaro as a growing young man, showing his strength by lifting a large rock, being observed by admirers. Following this, we see Momotaro at a waterfall practicing sumo with a bear cub as an opponent. Next, we see Momotaro leaving his parents with his dog to fight a band of Oni (demons or ogres), who have marauded over the land, looting and pillaging. The following scene shows Momotaro encountering a monkey, who asks for a dumpling. Next, a pheasant joins the entourage.

They arrive at a beach where they meet small ogres who have also been abused by the Oni; suddenly the dog, monkey, and pheasant have taken human form with animal faces. The next scene takes place on a ship, which Momotaro and his band are sailing to the Onis’ island. Following is a scene showing the ogres viewing the arriving ship in the distance. Next is an extended fierce battle scene with the three helpers of Momotaro fighting the ogres. A further battle scene depicts Momotaro participating.

The demons are defeated, and we see the demon chief and several others offering Momotaro and his band plundered treasure, including an uchide no Kozuchi (a magic mallet); a kakure mino (a raincoat that makes the wearer invisible); and a kakurekasa (a hat with the same effect). Momotaro sits, holding a fan with a peach symbol. The next scene shows the victorious four approaching Momotaro’s home, all carrying treasures.

In fine condition. A few wrinkles and, at the beginning of the scroll, there is a long tear carefully repaired.

Price: $15,000.00

Item ID: 6658

See all items in Japan, Japanese, Lithography, Manuscripts
See all items by