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Library opens window on life in 18th-century Japan

A Japanese handscroll painting from 1710-1730 by Furuyama Moromasa

A Japanese handscroll painting from 1710-1730 by Furuyama Moromasa

  • by ANDY PHILIP
 

A RARE Japanese painting depicting early 18th century street life has been discovered in a library’s special collections.

The 44ft scroll was donated to Edinburgh Central Library in the 1940s, but its significance has only just been understood.

It was painted by Furuyama Moromasa and could be the largest of his works. Two other examples are held by the British Museum.

The scroll depicts a street scene from Edo, which became Tokyo, showing shops, theatres and domestic life.

A funding application has been made to the Japan-based Sumitomo Foundation for conservation, with a result expected in March.

Dr Rosina Buckland, senior curator of National Museums Scotland’s Japanese collections, said: “It presents a wealth of entertaining scenes of life in Edo around 1700, as well as plentiful information on the lively world of the theatre, and is the only known large handscroll painting by this artist.”

 

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