He-Gassen 12 (quick-ship)

by Vintage Editions

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Artist Statement

Created during Japan’s Edo period in the late 1840s, the He-Gassen (translated literally as “fart battle”) scroll measures approximately thirty-four feet long with about fifteen different scenes depicting various forms of vicious vapors and tempestuous toots. While the original creator remains unknown, it’s likely that the scroll was a political cartoon of sorts, serving as commentary on a new wave of unwelcome Western influence. At the time, xenophobia was rampant under the Tokugawa shogunate. Japan was struggling against the external influence and cultural threats of Europeans and Americans, who were forcing unfavorable trade agreements on the empire. One theory is that He-Gassen shows wealthy merchants who collaborated with foreign powers being attacked by the flatulent firestorm, while another suggests that the Westerners themselves are being bombarded by the blasts. 

Why We Love It

These are not your grandmother’s punctilious poots. These are earth-shattering, antagonistic, air biscuit assaults. He-Gassen literally means “fart battle”. The original scroll on which these images were painted unfurls to nearly thirty-four feet long, and features about fifteen different scenes depicting various forms of pernicious gas-passing. The illustrated handscroll, or emaki, is a traditional medium made of individual sheets of paper or silk attached along their horizontal edge and rolled around a dowel. Held by hand and best viewed by only a few people at a time, it’s a relatively intimate experience. As the emaki is unfurled segment by segment, the narrative reveals itself in an almost cinematic manner. The He-Gassen scroll would have played out one tableau of troublemaking toots at a time, an escalating war of wind-breaking. The drama is palpable ... or shall we say smellable ... Read more on the blog!


+ This Quick Ship artwork ships in one business day.
+ This edition is not eligible for discount.
+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted

Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.


Museo Portfolio Rag

Edition Structure:
11"x14" | edition of 200

Vintage Editions

For our Vintage Editions series, our curators scour historical archives for both timeless classics and heretofore unseen gems. These images come back to life as exhibition-quality prints now available to everyone. As a bonus, purchasing equals patronage: sales from Vintage Edition prints go towards supporting our growing roster of artists.
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