Gaki-zoshi (Scroll of the Hungry Ghosts)

Handscroll, Color on paper, 26.8 x I38.4 cm
Late-Heian Period (Late-12th Century)
National Treasure AK 229 / Kyoto National Museum

Hungry Ghosts scroll

Hungry Ghosts scroll

Through words and pictures,this scroll tells one part of the seven-part story of the gaki, or hungry ghosts. The emaciated ghosts, with their skeleton-thin limbs and swollen bellies, are invisible to the human eye. They are in a state of perpetual thirst and lick the drops of spilled water in a temple cemetery. In contrast with the bustling variety of people conglomerated in front of the temple, the misery of the gaki is depicted in fluid brushwork and light touches of color.
(Click on any image to enlarge it.)

Detail of Scroll

Detail of Hungry Ghosts Scroll

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