six-panel screen which combines abstract and geometric painting with vignettes and writing; each panel hosts nine squares; each square contains either a figurative painting or Japanese characters; gold leaf covers the majority of each panel and purple and silver rectangles cap the top and bottom of each panel

Scenes from The Tale of Genji, 17th century

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Pictures and short passages of text brushed on 108 small squares of paper arranged on the surface of these screens represent the entirety of The Tale of Genji, with a text-image pairing for each of the Tale’s 54 chapters. Reading the passages of classical Japanese written in elegant calligraphy, or identifying a specific scene from the Tale and recalling the characters and dramas involved, could provide hours of fun for the screens’ owners and guests. But the screens could just as easily serve simply as a luxurious gold-and-silver backdrop for a gathering.

Details
Title
Scenes from The Tale of Genji
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.79.40.2
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 73
Curator Approved

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six-panel screen which combines abstract and geometric painting with vignettes and writing; each panel hosts nine squares; each square contains either a figurative painting or Japanese characters; gold leaf covers the majority of each panel and purple and silver rectangles cap the top and bottom of each panel