Folding Screens with Musashino Plain Design 武蔵野図屏風 

In this depiction of the Musashino Plain landscape, Mount Fuji is at the left side of one screen; Mount Tsukuba is on the right of other. Between them, as in beautiful attendance upon the two mountains, silver grass spans the picture plane. Musashino, located on a tableland, lacked convenient water sources and thus had remained untouched by efforts to develop new farmland. That changed in 1722, when the eighth Tokugawa shogun, Yoshimune, included developing newly cultivable lands in his Kyoho Reforms. When the shogunate issued its order to open up such lands throughout the country, the villages around Musashino presented scores of development requests. Under the direction of the city magistrate, Ooka Tadasuke, what had been a silver-grass-covered plain was opened to development. The farmers opening up the area cultivated the new fields and also brought drinking water there. Villages began popping up in what had been an area with few human residences, a place with an environment so harsh that people would collapse in the boiling heat and acute cold of the seasons. A mere fifteen years after development began, there were more than 80 villages in Musashino, with more than a thousand houses. These folding screens show us the Musashino landscape before those changes began.
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Edo-Tokyo Museum
Folding Screens with Musashino Plain Design
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Edo-Tokyo Museum Digital Archives

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