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Pair of handscrolls; ink, color, and gold on paper
Overall: 17.7 x 917.5 cm (6 15/16 x 361 1/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1972.12
Stories in Japanese Art (Japanese art rotation)
These handscrolls originally alternated text and painting, but the texts were removed.
Once read and copied by girls at New Year’s celebrations and included in dowries, The Saltmaker’s Story is a rags-to-riches tale in which daughters are gifts from the gods. Despite his simple outlook, the main character progresses from humble roots as an associate at Kashima Shrine to the elite status of grandfather of the emperor through the intervention of the Kashima deity. The Saltmaker’s Story is traditionally presented in a set of three scrolls, but the text of this set has been removed by a previous owner, who remounted the illustrations as a pair.
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