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Illustrations of imperial enthronement ceremonies added to Rare Materials Digital Archive (29 March 2019)


16 Apr 2019



      On 29 March, Kyoto University Library published four digitized illustrations of 18th-century enthronement ceremonies for a Japanese emperor and empress in its Rare Materials Digital Archive. This project was the first to be supported by the Kyoto University Digital Archive Fund, launched in July 2018.

      The newly published materials are part of the Nakai Collection, and depict the enthronement of two Edo-period monarchs: Emperor Sakuramachi (reign: 1735–1747) and Empress Gosakuramachi (reign: 1762–1771).

      Among the four pieces is Kyouhou nijuu kinotou no toshi juuichigatsu mikka gosokui toushou touka kazari no zu narabini seiryouden reifuku goran zu, a vivid and detailed portrayal of the enthronement ceremony for Sakuramachi, complete with the Takamikura (imperial throne), the Four Guardian Beasts — Genbu (Black Tortoise), Seiryu (Azure Dragon), Suzaku (Vermillion Bird), and Byakko (White Tiger) — and attending courtiers.

      The full list of the newly released illustrations is as follows:

      1. Kyouhou nijuu kinotou no toshi juuichigatsu mikka gosokui toushou touka kazari no zu narabini seiryouden reifuku goran zu (Emperor Sakuramachi)
      2. Gosokui nitsuki gomon keigo batori ezu (Emperor Sakuramachi)
      3. Gosakuramachi tennou gosokui iretu zu 1 (Empress Gosakuramachi)
      4. Gosakuramachi tennou gosokui iretu zu 2 (Empress Gosakuramachi)

      Viewing large folded materials normally requires ample space and meticulous care to prevent contact damage. In contrast, the Digital Archive allows anyone to easily and safely zoom in on any part of an image. Kyoto University Library intends to continue digitizing its collections so as to secure an optimal environment for long-term document preservation, while at the same time keeping the originals available for direct observation.

      Kyouhou nijuu kinotou no toshi juuichigatsu mikka gosokui toushou touka kazari no zu narabini seiryouden reifuku goran zu

      An illustration being scanned for digitization

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      Illustrations of imperial enthronement ceremonies added to Rare Materials Digital Archive (29 March 2019)
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