soushi-e 冊子絵
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Paintings (or sometimes printed illustrations) e 絵, that usually illustrate narrative tales, waka 和歌 poetry or sutras, bound in booklet format (see *sasshibon 冊子本). Primarily refers to depictions in the *yamato-e やまと絵 tradition, in contrast to paintings bound in albums, which are called *gajou 画帖 or gasatsu 画冊. Soushi-e were mostly designed to alternate text but sometimes paintings were used alone, perhaps with a text bound separately. In some cases a text was written over the paintings. There are two basic formats for these illustrated booklets:. One where a rectangular sheet of paper was folded in half and the open edges then bound together at the spine with stitching. The other was constructed of heavy paper folded accordion fashion. The actual paper support of each painting might be the page, but sometimes was a separate sheet pasted on. Paintings usually occupied a single page, although illustrations spread across the center-fold on two page surfaces are occasionally encountered. Sizes of booklets sasshibon and corresponding soushi-e tended to be small and the number of pages much less than early elaborately bound books in the west. Most narratives or anthologies required a set of booklets, 54 being the most common number of volumes for GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji). The rectangular format encouraged the artist to compose in discrete, independent scenes rather than the run-on compositions with a sense of time unfolding fostered by the handscroll format. An early 12c. depiction of a court lady, *Ukifune 浮舟, looking at a soushi-e and listening to the text read from another booklet comes in the *Azumaya 東屋 chapter of the illustrated handscroll of The Tale of Genji Genji monogatari emaki 源氏物語絵巻 (early 12c, Tokugawa Reimeikai 徳川黎明会 Foundation).


(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.