Makura no Soshi Ekotoba (Picture scrolls of scenes from the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon) (枕草子絵詞)
"Makura no Soshi Ekotoba" refers to the picture scrolls on which impressive scenes selected from the passages in the diary of "Makura no Soshi" (The Pillow Book) were depicted. It is also called Makura no Soshi Emaki. It is a private collection designated as an important cultural property.
It was created at the end of the Kamakura period (the beginning of the 14th century). Only one scroll, including captions and pictures in seven passages, remains today.
The entry for December 28, 1438, in "Kanmongyoki" (Diary of Imperial Prince Fushimi no miya Sadafusa) includes the phrase 'two picture scrolls of scenes from the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon.'
The extant edition is said to be a fragment of these scrolls.
Captions are written on paper into which cloud shapes are drawn in indigo on four corners. Rough designs are drawn with gold and silver paint on the paper. The text is based on the three-scroll manuscript line. Judging from the calligraphic style, the text seems to have been written by two men who belonged to the Fushimi-in school of calligraphy. Some insist that one of them was Emperor Gokogon. The pictures seem to have been painted with brushes by a woman. One theory has it that Emperor Fushimi's Princess Shinshi painted them, but the painter has not yet been identified. The pictures, which are classified as Japanese ink painting, are monochromatic except the parts where lips were painted in Shu-iro (Empire red). As different kinds of ink or painting technique were chosen for the most appropriate part, a contour of a human body was drawn with a thin line in black ink, and hairs and furnishing goods were painted in dark shoboku ink. The following techniques were used: the compositional technique used to depict a residential interior, which involves rendering a building without a roof and ceiling so that the viewer looks inside from above; the hikime-kagihana technique (line for an eye, hook for a nose). Its elaborate composition gives an inorganic impression. The pictures are regarded as a type of Hakubyo Yamato-e Painting (the traditional Japanese painting of the late Heian and Kamakura period using mainly sumi ink).
The extant passages
The following order of the passages is based on that of the widely circulated edition.
Passage 83 'When her majesty was residing in a room of the office, at the western part...' (two scenes)
Passage 89 'A lute given by the Emperor is called anonymous'
Passage 100 'When the Lady of Shigeisha entered the Crown Prince's Palace'
Passage 123 'Emperor's visit to Hachiman-gu Shrine'
Passage 130 'For the lord who passed away'
Passage 132 'A very dark night without the moon in May'