Matsumura Goshun inscribed passages from Buddhist monk Yoshida Kenkō’s (1283–1350) well-known collection of anecdotes, Essays in Idleness, across the top of the panels of this screen and its pair. Goshun illustrated the narratives with his vision of the figures who feature in them. The texts cascade down from right to left, forming unique compositional relationships with the images below. The episodes offer a veritable portrait of human idiosyncrasy, from one man’s deep faith in radishes to another’s inability to avoid nicknames.
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