Kamo no keiba 賀茂競馬
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A painting subject of horse racing at Kamigamo Jinja 上賀茂神社 in Kyoto. The event was a popular custom held on May 5th (today on June 5th) during shrine festivities to pray for abundant rice harvests. During the Heian period, the event was an annual imperial event which also marked the change of seasons *nenjuu gyouji 年中行事. The event lapsed during the Ounin 応仁 Wars (1467-77), but started again after peace was restored, with increasing support from the samurai 侍 elite. The event's popularity among samurai 侍 corresponded to the spread of horse ownership and mounted fighting techniques during the Muromachi and Momoyama periods. During the 15 and 16c paintings of horses grew in popularity and by the early Edo period the horse race event became a popular subject in genre paintings (see *kinsei shoki fuuzokuga 近世初期風俗画) as well as paintings of seasonal events *keibutsuga 景物画. Typical 17c examples divide the painting composition into a scene of the Kamigamo Jinja precincts and a scene of warriors racing horses before an excited crowd. An example is a six-fold folding screen by Kusumi Morikage 久隅守景 (?-1642-?) which is paired with a screen of The Bridge at Uji, Kamo no keiba Ujibashi-zu 賀茂競馬宇治橋図 (Ookura shuukokan 大倉集古館, Tokyo). Kamo no keiba is sometimes paired with a painting of dog chasing *inuoumono 犬追物 .


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