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下絵の世界

下絵の世界
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Earlier we looked at paper decorated with gold and silver leaf. Another way to use gold and silver to decorate books was to paint motifs on the page using gold and silver paints known traditionally as kindei (gold mud) and gindei (silver mud). In this example, especially at the top and bottom parts of the page, you see these drawings of clouds and mist made of fine gold sand, and then these exquisite maple leaves drawn with gold paint it is an extremely finely decorated example. Because they are under the written text, they are called shitae (“under-pictures”). Shitae can come in any color not just gold.
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The earliest examples are the elegant books of the Heian period, but like decorative techniques, there was a revival in the 17th century, during the Edo period, when Heian styles were widely imitated. Here is an example in scroll format, here it’s an accordion book (orihon), here you see this picture of a flowing stream with grass and leaves painted with gold and silver color. The same technique was also used on book covers as in this example. Though these are not called shitae, you see these fine drawings using gold and silver paint, this technique of adding motifs to the cover using gold and silver paint was also used with a peak of popularity in the 17th century.
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This one here is a poetry collection, but the picture on the cover is a rendition of a scene in the Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari, early 11th c.). The level of decoration is stunning. One important thing to keep in mind, you see here the picture of a horse generally speaking, there is no connection between the under paintings and the content of the written text. However, there is in some cases. Here the word “white horse” appears in the text, and here is the image of a horse this was originally part of a scroll and was cut off so in this case there is a correlation between the text and the motif.
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It may appear strange but if you look at the painting closely, you will see that care was taken to avoid going over the text. So this picture is not a real shitae but was added to the book after the text was inscribed. It’s important to pay attention to these differences. Shitae are another unique feature of traditional Japanese books.

日本の書物では、金や銀の絵の具である金泥(きんでい)・銀泥を(ぎんでい)を用いて、あらかじめ花鳥や山水など様々な絵や模様などを加えることも良く行われました。文字を書くと、それらは文字の下になることから、このような料紙の装飾を「下絵(したえ)」と呼びます。

平安時代頃のものから見ることができ、やはり江戸時代の17世紀頃の豪華本で事例が多いものです。漢詩や和歌を書きとどめるための紙片である短冊(たんざく)や色紙(しきし)の下絵を含めて、基本的に文字で書かれた内容とその部分の下絵には関連がないのが普通です。

まれに文字の内容と下絵とに関連が認められることがありますが、その殆どが下絵がない本の価値を高めるために、後になって下絵を加えたものです。当然文字の下に絵の具を入れることはできないので、文字の上に絵の具が乗っていたり、文字を避けるようにして絵を加えたりしています。その点に注意すればその識別は容易です。

厳密には下絵ではなく、「表紙模様」とでも言うべきですが、表紙に下絵と同様に金銀泥などで絵や模様が加えられたものも、17世紀を中心として多くの事例が存しています。

ビデオでは後から入れたものを含めて、様々な下絵のある美しい作品をご覧ください。

ビデオの2:30あたりで、下の図のように「白駒」の文字を見ることができます。そして、その白駒の絵が下絵として描かれていることを見ることができます。

book 図1 白駒の文字と下絵

ビデオで紹介されている書物

books on the table

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古書から読み解く日本の文化: 和本を彩る和紙の世界

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