A Long Tale for an Autumn Night (Aki no yo nagamonogatari)

Artist: Unidentified Artist Japanese

Period: Muromachi period (1392–1573)

Date: ca. 1400

Culture: Japan

Medium: Handscroll 1 from a set of 3; ink, color, and gold on paper

Dimensions: Image: 12 1/4 in. × 32 ft. 7 1/4 in. (31.1 × 993.8 cm)
Overall with mounting: 12 5/8 in. × 34 ft. 6 7/8 in. (32.1 × 1053.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Funds from various donors, by exchange, Fletcher Fund and Dodge Fund, 2002

Accession Number: 2002.459.1


A Long Tale for an Autumn Night became popular in Japan in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It tells of an amorous affair between a Buddhist monk and a younger male acolyte (chigo). The usual outcome of these tragic tales is the monk’s attainment of religious salvation after repenting his obsession with carnal pleasures. The narrative progresses from right to left across three illustrated handscrolls (emaki). Note the use of a device called iji dōzu (literally, “different time, same illustration”), in which the same figures appear multiple times in a single pictorial segment so that several events can be depicted simultaneously. At an earlier point, the first section of this handscroll was excised and mounted separately as a hanging scroll. The Museum acquired the missing section in 2005.