Swift Bull from the Ten Swift Bulls

駿牛図 断簡

late 1200s–early 1300s
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

We know the original scroll had ten bulls because a copy of the complete scroll exists.


Across the world, animals once played a much larger role in the transportation of the elite. Members of Japan’s imperial court traveled in vehicles pulled by oxen until the late 1400s, when oxcarts were restricted to ceremonial use. One sign of the past importance of the ox as a status symbol survives in this fragment from a scroll of portraits of 10 speedy bulls. The painter layered washes containing differing ratios of black ink to water to create a three-dimensional effect.
Swift Bull from the Ten Swift Bulls

Swift Bull from the Ten Swift Bulls

late 1200s–early 1300s

Japan, Kamakura period (1185–1333)

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