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Illustrated Shugendo Scroll

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Illustrated Shugendo Scroll  by highly skilled artist
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Illustrated Shugendo Scroll by highly skilled artist

Illustrated Manuscript Scroll Depicting a Follower of Shugendo and Describing the Necessary Food Rations for a Shugendo Pilgrimage in the Nikko Area.

Rissai. Kyowa 3 (1803)

Early scroll owner's name of Okitsu written at the end of the scroll.


21.2 x 240cm.


Unmounted manuscript in black ink with colour illustrations. Important and uncommon scroll describing a pilgrimage undertaken by shugenja (followers of shugendo) or yamabushi, who would spend weeks or months alone in mountain areas for worship. Delicately illustrated and the first illustration shows a shugenja blowing a conch shell signalling the beginning of the journey. The next image shows the same man embarking on his trip. The text mentions Tosho Daigongen (the deified name given to Tokogawa Ieyasu after his death) in Nikko and also refers to the required amount of rice necessary for the journey. It specifically states that 75 portions of rice should be prepared so one would assume this would have been for a 1-month pilgrimage with rationing of 2 or 3 rice balls per day. The final image shows the shugenja about to receive a large amount of rice which would then be divided into the correct number of portions. The text also mentions how the rice should be prepared and preserved whilst being transported.Scrolls referring to shugendo and yamabushi are rare because these topics were considered to be secret and only to be shared amongst practitioners of shugendo.


Small repaired wormholes mostly at the beginning and end of the manuscript and most being at the edges. In good condition.




Illustrated Shugendo Scroll

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