An image of Six scenes from ‘The Tale of Genji’

Tosa School

(Japan  – )

Six scenes from ‘The Tale of Genji’

Location
Not on display
Further information

The scenes in these screens are read from right to left and begin with an episode from Chapter 6 in the 'Tale of Genji', when Prince Genji steals into the mansion of Princess Suetsumuhana and listens to her playing the Japanese zither called koto. The central vignette represents Chapter 21. It shows the page girl sent by Empress Akikonomu carrying a box of autumn leaves and poem for Murasaki, Genji's main consort. The final scene depicts Genji peering over a brush fence at the young Murasaki, a common motif to illustrate Chapter 5.

The first scene in the left screen represents Chapter 23 and shows Genji paying his New Year’s visit to the Akashi lady in her elegantly appointed quarters. The vignette at the centre refers to Chapter 3. It portrays two young women playing the board game of go, unaware that they are being watched by Genji. The last two panels on the right border show Genji's son Kaoru courting the ladies of Uji; this refers to developments in Chapter 46.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, September 2011

Place of origin
Japan
Year
1700-1750
Media
Painting
Medium
pair of six-panel screens (byobu); ink, colour, gold and 'gofun' on paper
Dimensions
a - right screen - boating party at lower left; 109 x 289 cm
b - left screen - cart in lower left corner; 109 x 289 cm
Credit
Gift of Lesley Kehoe 2009. Donated through the Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program.
Accession number
182.2009.a-b