Image of a picture scroll

Picture scrolls

A set of three (possibly out of 10?) illustrated 13th century handscrolls known as the Heiji Monogatari Emaki has survived to this day and are held at different locations. They give an overview of various events described in the Heiji Monogatari.


The first scroll in the series is held in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This scroll depicts the "Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace".

A detailed description of the events on this scroll and high resolution close-ups can be found HERE.

(Note: this scroll is read from right to left)

Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace


The second scroll, designated Important Cultural Property in Japan, is housed at the Seikadō Bunko Art Museum, Tokyo. It is known as the "Shinzei" scroll.

(Note: this scroll is read from right to left)



The last scroll is a Japanese National Treasure, housed at the Tokyo National Museum. The "Imperial Visit to Rokuhara" scroll illustrates scenes of the escape of Emperor Nijo from the Imperial Palace, where he was placed under house arrest, and his move to the Rokuhara mansion.

In the first scene, the Emperor and Empress sit in an ox-drawn palanquin as soldiers crowd over to inspect it. The second scene shows the procession of the Empress Bifukumon-in. In the third, the emperor's entourage rides on horseback. Finally, in the fourth scene, Nobuyori, learning of their escape, falls dumbfounded.

(Note: this scroll is read from right to left)

Imperial visit to Rokuhara