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The Story of Yoshitsune's Invasion of Hell
CBL J 1017
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

According to Professor Asahara Yoshiko, this caricature vision of Hell is indicative of people’s general conception of it during the Edo period. This narrative illustration is a fine example of the category of popular Nara ehon (Nara picture-books), a genre that is now attracting great critical interest in Japan and worldwide.

History of the Object
The story of Edo period. This narrative illustration is a fine example of the category of popular Yoshitsune’s exploits begins when an ascetic is taken by an itinerant priest to see Hell. On the way, he encounters Yoshitsune and his men plotting their invasion of the underworld. From this point on, the ascetic becomes a witness to Yoshitsune’s campaign - and he is portrayed as an onlooker in each scene. Yoshitsune eventually conquers all the realms of the dead, but he and his men are condemned to suffer for descending into Hell. To escape punishment, he becomes a believer in Amida, Buddha of the Western Paradise. Finally, the itinerant priest reappears, preaches the Buddhist teaching of Hell and its evils, and then disappears into the clouds. At this point, Yoshitsune awakens to realize it was only a dream.

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Type
Book 
Materials
Ink, colours and gold on paper 
Measurements
Width 32,5 cm. Height 24,6 cm.  
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century, Edo Period 
Function
painted album 
Acquisition
Purchased privately 
Copyright
(c) Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
The Chester Beatty Library  
Museum
The Chester Beatty Library 
Credit line
Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library 

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