nenjuu gyouji 年中行事
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Also pronounced nenchuu gyouji. Lit. Annual Events. Nenjuu gyouji originally meant the monthly celebrations and ritual observances of the imperial court, many of which were based on ancient Chinese traditions, Chinese court events, and agricultural and religious rites. The earliest known use of the term was in connection with the dedication in 855 of a panel screen for the palace on which the names of 200 court events were inscribed, 48 for the First Month alone. Sometime between 1157-79, retired Emperor Goshirakawa 後白河 (r.1155-58) revived a number of ancient ceremonies and commissioned Tokiwa Mitsunaga 常盤光長 and other artists of the court painting atelier *edokoro 絵所 to paint a set of more than 60 handscrolls to record the annual court events and seasonal observances. The set was stored at Rengeouin 蓮華王院 (Sanjuusangendou 三十三間堂, Kyoto) and then in the Imperial Household, but was destroyed in the fire of 1661. There exist eight or nine copies, including a set of 16 scrolls by Sumiyoshi Jokei 住吉如慶 (1599-1670) in the Tanaka 田中 Collection, yet all these materials together amount to approximately only one-third of the original. From the 13c martial events had been introduced into the nenjuu gyouji and thus later paintings show events taking place not only at court but also in warrior and even merchant houses. Because there is no fixed text for nenjuu gyouji paintings, a great variety of themes appear. In general, later illustrations of nenjuu gyouji were most often limited to twelve events, one for each month. Thus, nenjuu gyouji merged into the category of *tsukinami-e 月次絵, sometimes later called juunikagetsu fuuzokuga 十二ヶ月風俗画, that is, genre paintings of the twelve months. Typical subjects, for example, are : New Year's Day /First month ; the nightingale contest /Second month ; cockfighting /Third month ; blossom viewing / Fourth month ; Boys Day Festival /Fifth month ; Parade of mikoshi 神輿 /Sixth month ; Tanabata 七夕 Star Festival /Seventh month ; moon viewing /Eighth month ; Chrysanthemum Festival /Ninth month ; maple viewing /Tenth month ; Bonfire Festival /Eleventh month ; and children in snow /Twelfth month. Beginning in the 17c nenjuu gyouji became a popular painting theme with artists of the Tosa and Kanou Schools, *Tosaha 土佐派 and *Kanouha 狩野派, appearing most frequently on fans and albums, but also in handscrolls and sets of hanging scrolls.

*gosekku 五節句, *keibutsuga 景物画 

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