Illustrated legend of Tamamo no mae

View right to left

Artist: Yasunobu Kichizaemon (17th century)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 17th century
Ink, color, gold, and silver on paper
H x W (overall): 32.6 x 1234.5 cm (12 13/16 x 486 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, woman

From 1951 to 1987
H.W. Campbell, Ocala, FL, purchased in Tokyo in 1951 [1]

From 1987
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from H.W. Campbell in 1987


[1] When H.W. Campbell purchased the objects in Tokyo in 1951, it was said to have been the property of a family that had been feudal lords in the Tokugawa era (see Curatorial Note 3 in object file).

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

H. W. Campbell


This handscroll (as well as F1987.10) relates the story of Tamamo no mae, a woman who is possessed by a fox spirit. She is capable of transforming herself into the guise of a beautiful woman, or into the form of a magical nine-tailed fox. The narrative sections are written on paper decorated with hand-painted gold designs, followed by short illustrations bordered by cloud bands decorated with gold leaf. Japanese handscrolls are read from right to left and are unrolled gradually to reveal each scene. They were usually made for private enjoyment. Imaginative legends such as Tamamo no mae were especially popular from the fourteenth century onward.

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.

Related Objects