takagari 鷹狩
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A pictorial subject depicting the sport of falconry, birds trained to hunt cranes tsuru 鶴, pheasants kiji 雉子 or water fowl and occasionally small animals. The oldest evidence of falconry in Japan appears in the form of extant haniwa 埴輪 clay figures of the Kofun period, and written records date from as early as NIHON SHOKI 日本書紀 (720). Although at times subject to curtailment because of Buddhist proscriptions against hunting, falconry was from the Kamakura period onward a favorite sport of emperors and aristocrats, and gradually developed and spread in popularity since the Kamakura period among the warrior elite. Falconry continued to flourish in the Edo period, when daimyou 大名 customarily exchanged hawks and other game taken in falconry as presents.
In painting takagari was a *yamato-e やまと絵 subject from at least the 11c. A scene of falconry at *Sagano 嵯峨野 is recorded as being painted on the back of a no longer extant Konmeichi panel *Konmeichi-no-shouji 昆明池障子 used at Kyoto Gosho 京都御所 during the Heian period. Scenes of keeping falcons, hunting, presenting the catch, as well as depictions on sliding screens of falconry installed in aristocratic dwellings are seen in handscrolls such as The Kasuga Gongen Miracles Kasuga Gongen kenki-e 春日権見験記絵 (1309) in the Imperial Household Collection.
A well-known example of Takagari in the most commonly encountered use of the term is a pair of screens by Kusumi Morikage 久隅守景 (ca. 1620-1690, Tokyo National Museum), in which falconry hunting for cranes and herons is set against a background of wintery rice fields. Although not strictly of falcon hunting, many formal portraits of lords, such as that of Takeda Shingen 武田信玄 (1521-73) by Hasegawa Touhaku 長谷川等伯 (1539-1610), Joukeiin 成慶院 in Wakayama prefecture, include falcons. Trained hawks perching on a roost tsunagitaka-zu 繋鷹図, sometimes in a set of twelve juunitaka 十二鷹, also were depicted on screens and in scrolls as well as on votive tablets edaka 絵鷹. Lords in the Edo period also commissioned paintings to record the likenesses of prize birds.

*matsutaka-zu 松鷹図

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