right screen Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Pictures of the floating world, which highlighted small groups or individual figures, drew on the conventions of earlier genre paintings, such as this lively rendering of the festive horse races held annually at the Kamo Shrine in Kyoto. Although the paintings depict the ritual races staged for the entertainment of the shrine gods, their true interest lies in the detailed illustration of individual spectators, from well-heeled aristocrats to commoners boisterously cheering on the jockeys. Micro-dramas unfold as people eat, drink, gossip, and even brawl. Comedy and intrigue, such as the theatrical unseating of the jockey in the right screen, provide points of entry into this otherwise visually overwhelming scene.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Horse Racing at Kamo Shrine
Work Type
painting, screen
early to mid-17th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper
each screen, painting proper: H. 150.6 × W. 360.4 cm (59 5/16 × 141 7/8 in.)
each screen, overall with mount: H. 165 × W. 375.4 cm (64 15/16 × 147 13/16 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Right screen: Kamigamo Shrine
Left screen: Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine
Publication History

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), pp. 28-29, figs. 11-13

Exhibition History

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/23/2022 - 12/05/2022

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/14/2020 - 06/06/2021

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This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu