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Japanese Scrolls

Japanese scrolls traditionally come in two forms: hanging scrolls and hand scrolls. Hanging scrolls, also called kakemono or kakejiku, are usually made of paper or silk mounted on another layer of silk or other fabric that is temporarily hung for display, revealing the entirety of the scroll and its contents. Hand scrolls are made entirely of paper or silk and are only viewed in small sections at a time starting from the right side into the left.

The Japanese hanging scroll consists of four standard parts that represent heaven, earth, and two pillars in between. The top section above the mounted image of kakejiku is considered heaven, the bottom is earth, and the sides are the pillar supports. Traditionally, the top portion is larger than the bottom.

The hand scroll, or emaki, is most suited for illustrating a narrative. These scrolls were painted with both intricate images and beautiful calligraphy. While these scrolls were originally introduced to Japan through Buddhism, secular hand scrolls such as the "Tale of Genji" and "Siege of Sanjo Palace" became important documentations of time and demonstrations of groundbreaking perspective and painting.


Quick Facts

  • Within hand scrolls, text describing a narrative most commonly precedes the image. However, calligraphy can often be broken up between images or chapters
  • Hanging scrolls were not meant to be hung up on the wall permanently. Instead, these scrolls were made to be swapped out depending on occasion and stored away if not displayed for a guest
  • During World War II, hanging scrolls, particularly those featuring beautiful Japanese women in kimonos, were mass produced and cheap to purchase. However, few works have been produced since the war, making hanging scrolls rare. Still, antique hanging scrolls are often affordable at auction

Recommended Items at Auction

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Japanese Meiji Period Shunga Erotic Hand Scroll
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
Japanese Meiji Period Shunga Erotic Hand Scroll
by World Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $400
$1502 Bids
Collection of Calligraphy and Artist Scrolls
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
Collection of Calligraphy and Artist Scrolls
by Caza Sikes
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
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JAPANESE SCROLL "Otafuku" by Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
JAPANESE SCROLL "Otafuku" by Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$4001 Bid
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Japanese silk scroll painting "Mt. Horai", by Ishikawa Ryujo 1847-1927
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Japanese silk scroll painting "Mt. Horai", by Ishikawa Ryujo 1847-1927
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $400- $800
$2000 Bids
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Kano Yasunobu: 1614-1685, Sansui landscape, Japanese scroll painting
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Kano Yasunobu: 1614-1685, Sansui landscape, Japanese scroll painting
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $5,000- $10,000
$1,5000 Bids
Japanese Scroll Painting with Bird & Bamboo
Dec 11, 11:00 AM EST
Japanese Scroll Painting with Bird & Bamboo
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
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JAPANESE HANGING scroll painting: by KOKO "Beautiful Woman" (1900-1940)
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
JAPANESE HANGING scroll painting: by KOKO "Beautiful Woman" (1900-1940)
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $500- $1,500
$2000 Bids
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JAPANESE hanging scroll painting "Young Beautiful Girl"
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
JAPANESE hanging scroll painting "Young Beautiful Girl"
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$2000 Bids
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JAPANESE hanging scroll painting, by OTEI "Pine Tree" (1900-1940)
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
JAPANESE hanging scroll painting, by OTEI "Pine Tree" (1900-1940)
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $500- $1,500
$1600 Bids
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“Black Tiger" antique Japanese silk hanging scroll
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
“Black Tiger" antique Japanese silk hanging scroll
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
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Fishing in the Highlands scenery painting, Japanese hanging scroll
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Fishing in the Highlands scenery painting, Japanese hanging scroll
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $300- $600
$1000 Bids
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TOSAI (1850-1899) "Hunting Animals Scenery", Japanese Large Hanging Scroll
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
TOSAI (1850-1899) "Hunting Animals Scenery", Japanese Large Hanging Scroll
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $3,000- $6,000
$1,2000 Bids
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Japanese scroll painting on silk, Village with a poem
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Japanese scroll painting on silk, Village with a poem
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $500- $1,000
$1000 Bids
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玉凰: Gyokuo, Japanese scroll silk painting "Bird and Flower", 1900’s
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
玉凰: Gyokuo, Japanese scroll silk painting "Bird and Flower", 1900’s
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5000 Bids
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"Two Beauties under Sakura" Japanese antique silk scroll painting
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
"Two Beauties under Sakura" Japanese antique silk scroll painting
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $350- $700
$1600 Bids
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Mountain river, Japanese silk scroll painting 掛軸 Kakejiku
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Mountain river, Japanese silk scroll painting 掛軸 Kakejiku
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $200- $400
$1400 Bids
Japanese Watercolor Kakejiku Scroll on Silk w/ Box
Dec 10, 2:00 PM EST
Japanese Watercolor Kakejiku Scroll on Silk w/ Box
by Napoleon's Fine Art
Est: $300- $600
$1500 Bids
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Creative calligraphy "Dragon" Japanese antique scroll painting
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Creative calligraphy "Dragon" Japanese antique scroll painting
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
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"Two swimming Carps" Japanese antique hanging scroll
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
"Two swimming Carps" Japanese antique hanging scroll
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $300- $600
$1000 Bids
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Noboru Takayama(1864-1950) Japanese Antique hanging scroll / Calligraphy
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Noboru Takayama(1864-1950) Japanese Antique hanging scroll / Calligraphy
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$800 Bids
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Calligraphy of Saitō Chikudō~ Japanese antique hanging scroll
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Calligraphy of Saitō Chikudō~ Japanese antique hanging scroll
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$800 Bids
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Japanese running script calligraphy antique painting on paper scroll
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Japanese running script calligraphy antique painting on paper scroll
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$800 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Japanese Scrolls


Eternity Gallery

Eternity Gallery

Nye & Company

Nye & Company

Material Culture

Material Culture

Stair

Stair