Dog-Chasing Game (inu-o-mono)

Historical period(s)
Edo period, 17th century
Ink, color, and gold on paper
H x W: 155.8 x 363.8 cm (61 5/16 x 143 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screens (six-panel)

court, dog, Edo period (1615 - 1868), game playing, horse, Japan, playing
Provenance research underway.

The archery skill of the Japanese mounted warrior was honed in the exercise of dog chasing (inu-o-mono). Warriors and their steeds formed the outer of two concentric circles. Dogs were released within the inner circle and shot at with round-headed, blunt arrows that caused no serious injury.

Since the late twelfth century, successful Japanese military strategists emphasized the importance of a well-trained cavalry over the more traditional use of massive infantry force. Dog chasing was especially popular in the fifteenth century, a time of increasing civil unrest. Interest in the games was renewed in the mid-seventeenth century, after the general pacification of the country under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate.

During much of the Edo period (1615-1868) there were few calls to arms, and the dog-chasing game took on the ritual, festive quality depicted in these paintings.

Published References
  • Keiko Kawamoto. Nihon byobue shusei. 18 vols., Tokyo, 1977-1982. vol. 12: pl. 72.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 5, pp. 14-17.
  • , vol. 11 Washington and Ann Arbor. pp. 27-38.
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 51, p. 68.
  • Unknown title. vol. 27 New York and Honolulu, 1973-1974. pp. 97-98, fig. 18.
  • Morgan Pitelka. Reading Medieval Ruins: Urban Life and Destruction in Sixteenth-Century Japan. Cambridge, April 7, 2022. p. 189, fig. 6.2.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.