At the Shrine Gate
Edo period (1615–1868)
Two-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold on paper
60 x 64 1/4 in. (152.4 x 163.2 cm)
Gift of A. I. Sherr, 1960
Not on view
This bird's-eye view of a Shinto shrine and its environs offers a lively scene of seventeenth-century Kyoto, a genre that developed from late sixteenth-century paintings of famous sites around the capital. Entering and leaving through the red torii gate that dominates the scene are gaily clad citizens of various classes. In the street market nearby, vendors enjoy a bustling trade selling fish, rice cakes, and tobacco. Such activities, which remain to this day among the pleasures associated with shrine visits, were particularly noteworthy at the Yasaka Shrine, famous for its market and its buildings that assimilated Buddhist temple architecture. The shrine was also recognized for its prominence during the Gion Matsuri, Kyoto's most important festival. A six-fold screen depicting the festival, in the Suntory Museum, Tokyo, matches the Metropolitan's screen in figure style, composition, and in its treatment of landscape and cloud patterns, suggesting that this painting was once part of a larger composition describing the Gion Matsuri.