Horse Racing at Kamo Shrine


Not on view

Beginning in the ninth century, an annual horse race was held in early spring as part of festival celebrations at the Upper Kamo Shrine in Kyoto. People from all walks of life—courtiers and court ladies, samurai, and commoners—enjoyed the festivities. The race (Kamo kurabeuma) was a great spectacle, and an opportunity for aristocratic riders to demonstrate their riding skills and show their best horses. Many in attendance seem in rapt attention to the main event, while other vignettes depict people engaged in an array of activities. This set of screens was produced probably sometime during or around the Genroku era (1688–1704), a period associated with developments in luxury and fashion trends.

Horse Racing at Kamo Shrine, Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, gold and gold leaf on paper, Japan

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right screen (.1), overall