Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Center for Conservation Science
Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Study of the Extermination of Evil: First Seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

National Treasure, God of Heavenly Punishment of Extermination of Evil, hanging scroll From the Collection of the Nara National Museum. Photograph courtesy of the Nara National Museum.
Online Q&A session

 The paintings constituting the National Treasure Extermination of Evil, held in the collections of the Nara National Museum and others, are thought to have been created at the end of the Heian period around the time of Emperor Go-Shirakawa. Along with the Hell Scroll, these paintings are well known as works representing this period, but there is still room for examination regarding their subjects and the background to their production. In the first seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems in 2021, Ms. UMEZAWA Megumi (chief researcher at Kanagawa Prefectural Kanazawa-Bunko Museum) gave a presentation titled “Restorative Consideration of the Subject of Extermination of Evil.” She has argued that the subject of this work is “hell for demon-gods” (UMEZAWA Megumi, “Ya o hagu bishamonten to ‘Hekijae’ no shudai” [Bishamonten fletching arrows and the subject of Extermination of Evil]. In Chūsei kaiga no matorikkusu II [Matrix of medieval paintings II], Seikansha, 2014). In this presentation, she conducted a detailed analysis including the newly discovered notes that seem to be part of the series of picture scrolls that have come to be known in recent years. She reexamined the ideas of the work as a whole and considered the religious thought and historical tastes underlying its expression. The seminar took place online with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but remote participants also engaged actively in the Q&A session. Although human movement is restricted, we will continue our research activities after taking adequate measures.

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