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Arts of Asia

The MFAH collections of art from China, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia reflect Houston’s diverse communities. Ancient and contemporary works are displayed together to create innovative juxtapositions.


Hie Sanno Sairei-Zu
17th century
Ink, color, and gold leaf on paper
Each screen: 66 1/2 x 145 1/2 x 5/8 inches
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of the estate of Mrs. Dudley C. Sharp, Sr.

Arts of Asia

The narrative of this pair of screens reads from right to left and depicts the Hie Sanno Matsuri festival. During the festival, which takes place every April, people celebrate a bountiful harvest by bringing mikoshi (large portable shrines) to the Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine outside of Kyoto.

After visiting the shrine, the mikoshi are loaded onto boats and taken back to their home villages. The upper part of the right screen depicts the Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine complex marked with a large red gate. In the left screen, villagers watch as the mikoshi are placed on boats before making their voyage home. Festival screens like this one appeared frequently during the Momoyama period (1573–1615) and often showed panoramic views of cities and their surrounding landscapes.