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Saturday 21 October 2017

Historic scroll brings Japan's stories to life

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

IT'S said to be Japan's oldest fairy tale, and now it's being displayed in Ireland to enchant Irish children of all ages.

A free exhibition featuring 17th century Japanese hand scrolls has opened at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle.

It tells the tale of the Bamboo Cutter, one of the best-known stories in Japanese classical literature.

The scrolls are believed to be the earliest surviving illustrated version of the 9th century story, and they were put through a two-year period of restoration.

The two scrolls, made up of 47 sheets of paper joined horizontally, are thought to have been bought by the mining magnate Alfred Chester Beatty in the early years of the 20th century and kept in his collection.

The exhibition allows the public to view over seven metres of each scroll.

Japanese ambassador to Ireland Chihiro Atsumi, who attended the launch yesterday, said he hoped the exhibition would boost the relationship between Japan and Ireland.

"The tale of the Bamboo Cutter is a magical story about a little girl discovered as a baby in a stick of bamboo, who grows up and returns to her home on the moon.

"When people in Ireland first see the golden scrolls, you may find them very different from the images you are used to.

"But I'm sure you will also feel that we share the sense of respect and love for the mysterious things around us," he said.

The exhibition runs until August 5.

Irish Independent

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