rakugaki 落書
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Also written 楽書. Graffiti or scribblings. The earliest examples in Japan are the scribblings in the margins or on the backs of manuscript sheets brushed probably by students who were copying Buddhist scriptures. Graffiti sketches were sometimes drawn on the hidden surfaces of Buddhist statues and architecture. Typically, they are quick brush sketches of human or animal figures and often humorous. A number of 7c rakugaki were discovered concealed on ceiling boards of the *Kondou 金堂 of Houryuuji 法隆寺 in Nara. Another well known early example is of an angry bearded man with bulging eyes found in the margin of a register of paper for sutra copying dated 745 in the Shousouin Repository SHOUSOUIN MONJO 正倉院文書.

*giga 戯画

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