kansubon 巻子本
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Also kansu 巻子, makimono 巻物 and kansou 巻装. A handscroll or horizontal scroll. A bound-book is called a *sasshibon 冊子本 and a vertical hanging scroll is called a *kakemono 掛物. The kansubon was the earliest form of Japanese book and was modelled after Chinese books. It consists of lengths of cloth (most often silk), or a number of sheets of paper joined in sequence, which are attached to a roller *jiku 軸 at one end and to a outer cover *hyoushi 表紙 at the other end. A Japanese roller is made of wood, bamboo, metal or lacquer, and is slightly longer than the width of the scroll to facilitate unrolling. Sometimes decorated end-knobs, made of wood, metal, stone or gems, are attached to the roller. At the opposite end of the scroll, a title strip *daisen 題簽 is attached near the outer edge of the outer cover, which is linked with a frontispiece *mikaeshi 見返. The outer-most edge of the outer cover is also folded to form a flap, into which a thin strip of bamboo or metal called hyoushitake 表紙竹 is inserted. A braided or plain strand of fabric, called makio 巻緒, is attached to the center of the edge in order to tie the scroll when rolled up. The handscroll format has been used extensively for Buddhist sutras, calligraphy, poetry anthologies, stories, (particularly illustrated narratives *emaki 絵巻) and collections of letters. The handscroll was the dominant book form after its introduction from China in the 5c until around the 9c when a number of other types of book-binding developed. Handscrolls continue to be used today, particularly for artistic purposes. The Heike Dedicatory Sutra; HEIKE NOUKYOU 平家納経 (1164, Itsukushima Jinja 厳島神社 in Hiroshima prefecture), are examples of lavishly decorated scrolls with mikaeshi paintings and ample use of gold and silver to decorate the paper and fittings. Since it was seen an act of religious merit, sutra copying and donation became a source of elaborately decorated handscrolls. However the handscroll format was also used by ordinary people. An early example of mass-produced printed handscrolls with illustrations are the 1390/1405 editions of Yuuzuunenbutsu engi 融通念仏縁起 (Dainenbutsuji 大念仏寺 in Osaka). Chinese paintings or Chinese style paintings *kanga 漢画 in the horizontal scroll format are called *gakan 画巻.


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