This is a sake set with Choju-giga(鳥獣戯画, translated into “Animal Caricatures”) as a motif, Choju-giga is a famous set of four picture scrolls, (emakimono), belonging to Kozanji temple in Kyoto city, Japan. The Chōjū-giga scrolls are also referred to as Scrolls of Frolicking Animals in English. It seems clear from the style that more than one artist is involved to have created those scrolls. The right-to-left reading direction of Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga is traditional in East Asia, and is still common in Japan. Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga is also credited as the oldest work of manga. The scrolls are now displayed in the Kyoto National Museum and Tokyo National Museum.
The scrolls are the earliest in a linear monochrome drawing style that was to continue in use in Japanese painting (as they are all done with the usual writing and painting brush, they count as painting).
At the beginning, the first scroll illustrates anthotopomorphic rabbits and monkeys bathing and getting ready for a ceremony, a monkey thief runs from animals with sticks and knocks over a frog from the lively ceremony. Further on, the rabbits and monkeys are playing and wrestling while another group of animals participate in a funeral and frog prays to Buddha as the scroll closes.
The scrolls were also adapted into several novels published by Geijutsuhiroba, the first book simply compiled the scrolls into one publication, now out of print. One of the books participated as part of the company’s Fine Arts Log series as well as some were exclusive to certain exhibitions.
Drawings of rabbit, monkey, frog and Mt. Fuji, can be enjoyed from different angles. There are two variations of flasks, round and tall, as well as two variations for sake cups, flat hirahai and tall ochoko.