Scroll 32: Sengoku Era

This was my first opportunity to do a scroll in a Japanese style. After the success with my first Chinese scroll, I was very excited to continue diving into new cultural styles of art. I suspect that most people think of the Edo period when they think of historical Japanese art. It’s dynamic and beautiful, but also just outside of SCA period. The recipient’s persona is late Sengoku era, which is just prior to Edo. Sengoku portraits are very still in comparison. The subject is generally seated and is drawn with an outline shaped like a mountain. This 16th-century portrait of Oda Nobunaga by Kanō Motohide looked very approachable, with an additional challenge in the non-bordered white accents at the waist and shoulders. I also thought it a fitting choice of historical figures for an Award of Arms.

The translation for this scroll was done by Suou (出雲のすおう) of Ansteorra.

Original English Text

In the reign of Ajax and Gaia, in the Kingdom of Northshield, AS 57, at Spring War Maneuvers. For enthusiastic fighting and traveling throughout the kingdom, Shin Tate is hereby granted an Award of Arms and may bear the title of Lord.

Literary Japanese Text









Phonetic Japanese Text

Ajax-ou to Gaia-jou’ou no chisei ni, Northshield no kuni de, AS go juu nana ni, haru no daienshuu de.  Atsui tatakau koto to kuni no naka o ryokou suru koto no okage de, Shin Tate ni monshougaku shou o tamawarimasu.  Soshite san no shougou o iemasu.

Starting with the text this time, I used the same technique that had served me so well on the Chinese scroll. The tracing template had the characters in the size and position I wanted on the scroll and I referred to an oversized printed copy as I wrote to maintain accuracy. The script order reads in descending columns from right to left, but I wrote them from left to right to avoid smearing because I am right handed. I also decided to drop the “AS” letters since they weren’t strictly necessary and would have detracted from the overall look.

I laid the colors down on the figure first with red, then white, green, yellow, and finally black for the hair and the back end of the sheath. The white stripes below the belt were tricky because of all the fold lines I had to dodge with the brush, but I think they turned out okay in the end. I changed the floor to purple as a nod to the red and purple colors of the current reign and stripped the borders down to simple gold bars because I am not ready for that level of insanity with a paint brush.

Materials: Printer, light table, 8″x10″ pergamenata, ruler, pencil, eraser, micron pen, gouache, gold paint