Japanese Scrolls

Their History, Art & Craft

William de DeLange, with Teruo Takayanagi

This is the first work to explore fully the history, art, and craft of the Japanese hanging scroll, or kakejiku, from its ancient Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese origins, through its introduction to Japan as early as the sixth century AD, to its role in the modern Japanese art world. It is proof of the scroll's timeless qualities that it remains a fixture in traditional Japanese rooms, and continues to inform the design of modern interiors.

Part 1 traces the scroll’s fascinating journey from an obscure religious artifact to a popular work of art, covering: the origins of the handscroll as a vehicle for Buddhist texts during the Nara period (710–784); the popularity of the vibrant picture scrolls of the opulent Heian period (794–1185); the rise of Zen-inspired hanging scrolls during the Kamakura period (1185–1333); their rich diversification during the Muromachi and Momoyama periods (1336–1600); and their incorporation into the “alcove,” or tokonoma of Edo period (1600–1867) households.

Part 2 is dedicated to the scroll’s artistic features: the structure of both hanging and handheld scrolls; their complex array of classes and subclasses, formats, and dimensions; their exquisite and often costly materials; traditional handling and display; and methods of storage and preservation.

Part 3 describes the age-old process by which scrolls are still made by Japanese craftsmen, including: material selection (tori-awase); backing textile and paper sections (urauchi); careful assembly into the complete scroll (tsukemawashi); use of the drying board (kari-bari); and the finishing stage of mounting (shiage).

This comprehensive work will be of interest to all connoisseurs and collectors of East Asian scroll art as well as craftspeople engaged in the mounting and presentation of text and images.

William de Lange studied Japanese language and culture at the universities of Leiden and Waseda, and has translated and written extensively on Japanese cultural topics. He spent half a year as an apprentice to scroll maker Teruo Takayanagi, and returned to Japan over the years to continue his scroll research.

Teruo Takayanagi, a master scroll maker from Mobara, Chiba prefecture, learned his craft through an apprenticeship under his father, Tetsunosuke Takayanagi. The younger Takayanagi went on to receive numerous honors, including the 1986 Chiba Prefectural Governor’s Award and served as chairman of the Chiba Picture Scroll Makers Association from 2000 until his death in 2012.

248 pp, 8.5 x 11 / Hardcover
224 Color photos, maps, drawings
Glossary, bibliography, index
Japanese crafts / East Asian art
ISBN: 978-1-891640-88-9