Choju Giga (Caricature Painting of Birds and Beasts) is a scroll painting in Toganosan Kozanji Temple in Arashiyama, Kyoto.
The official name of the scroll is 'Bird Beast Human Scroll'. It consists of four volumes and is designated a National Treasure.
From the end of the Heian period to the early Kamakura period, a monk of the Tendai Buddhist sect, Toba-soju-kakuyu is supposed to have painted the scroll, but many people believe it to be executed by several painters.
In the caricature, animals are depicted as humanlike; rabbits, monkeys, frogs, cattle, dogs, giraffes and so on. The scroll is an ironic description of the world at that time. but some parts of the scroll have been lost or are hard to understand.
The depiction of animals as humanlike and drawn with an emphasis on quickly-painted line to suggest movement is said to be the origin of comic drawing and animation in Japan today.
Kyoshu-ho Ridge, in Honyabakeimachi, Nakatsu, in Oita Prefecture, is the most famous scenic spot along the Yaba Ravine.
The ridge received its named in the 13th year of the Horeki era (1763), when Konnryu-osho of the Asakusa Temple in Edo visited the ravines. Because the distinct cliffs and ridges appeared to be competing against each other in 'excellence' and height, the whole mountain was named Kyoshu-ho, which translates as 'competing-excellence peak'.
Some 55 years later, Raisanyo would introduce the ridges to the whole country after completing the 'Yaba-kei-Zumaki' a scroll painting depicting the Yaba Ravine in sumi ink on paper. Soon after, the flow of literati and painters would never stop, including a famous writer known as Ozan Ono, who was so impressed by the ridges that he requested to be buried here when he died.
The distinctly formed ridges are covered with a fine brocade of trees, and are a kilometer wide, with numerous peaks starting from the Hida side with Ichinomine, Ninomine, Sannomine, Ebisuiwa, Kimeniwa, Daikokuiwa, Myokeniwa, Shingariiwato, Tsuriganeiwa, Jinnoiwa, Hachiojiwa, and so on. The Kyoshu-ho Ridge is a strangely fantastic scenic spot, not to be missed.
Ecchu district, which is rich in high-quality water from the foot of the Northern Japanese Alps, has long been a production area of washi paper.
Ecchu washi is tough and flexible, and is used for many products from sliding paper doors and writing paper to paper lanterns, works of calligraphy and paintings, as well as prints and more than 100 kinds of dyed papers.
There is reference to Echhu washi in the Shosoin records, dating to the Nara period. Moreover, the Engishiki records from the Heian period mention that people paid their taxes using washi. Therefore, we can conclude that Ecchu washi has a long history.
Today, around Japan, there are many young people carrying on the traditions of Japanese paper, not only making dyed paper and classical washi using mulberry fiber, but developing new forms of paper handicraft, paper processed goods and souvenirs.
Hyogu (picture frames/hangers) are commonly used for Buddhist objects in temples and also for scroll pictures hung in the 'tokonoma' recess in Japanese rooms.
Hyogu have a history of 1200 years, during which time the techniques of making them became increasingly refined. Today, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has designated Kyo-hyogu as a traditional handicraft of Japan.
The history of mounting pictures to frames goes back to the Heian period, when picture scrolls from China arrived with the Buddhist faith. Those pictures that came from China were framed in Japan. Later, it became common to mount the pictures with cloth and paper to make them up as scroll pictures, 'byobu' screens, 'tsuitate' walls and 'fusuma' sliding doors for preservation and appreciation.
Nowadays, the techniques of framing/mounting are used in various ways. In practical areas of our everyday lives, they are used as 'fusuma' sliding doors and wall decorations. They are also used in arts and crafts, as scroll pictures, frame decorations, 'byobu' screens, picture albums and scrolls. The techniques may also be used in restoration, which requires high levels of technique and experience. Each area demands unique expertise.