Up through May 6th at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is an exhibit entitled "Storytelling In Japanese Art" with a main focus on the Emaki, or Emakimono hand scrolls; some dating as far back as the 12th century. What's interesting about these pieces is that they are physically lengthy, so only certain portions of the scrolls are available for viewing at a time. The scrolls will be advanced during the length of the exhibition, so if you visit more than once, chances are you'll see different sections of the scrolls, which contain illustrations as well as japanese character text. Some are faded and reflective of their age, and some are in phenomenal shape considering the fragility of the medium. The exhibition also includes full views of some of the handscrolls on iPad displays in the beautifully crafted reading room. The current of the presentation of the pieces is very fluid - literally, with a fountain by Isamu Noguchi in the center of the route and a study/bamboo mat room.
When visiting the exhibition, we learn narrative was not only told on the medium of the scroll; visitors will see illustrations on screens, fans, cards, hanging banners, books, kimonos and porcelain as well. Some are showing one or two ideas as a story, and other pieces have multiple scenes and many utilize the stylized cloud formations to separate panels or sections of the stories that is present in Japanese art through the years. Take a look at some of the details of this show in the photos after the jump and see if it doesn't pique your interest!