bottom part with signature trimmed off

Murasaki Shikibu, c. 1843-1846

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This print is part of a series featuring the so-called Thirty-Six Immortal Poetesses, a celebrated group of ancient women poets that includes Murasaki Shikibu, the author of The Tale of Genji. The red cartouche at upper right includes one of her poems, which reads, “Ever since the evening / my dear friend / turned to smoke, / even the name of Shiogama Bay / brings back memories.” In this poem, Murasaki draws a link between the cremation of a friend and the smoke that hangs over the famous northeastern salt-making town of Shiogama. For this print, Utagawa Hiroshige reimagined the typical depiction of Murasaki on a temple veranda overlooking Lake Biwa (where she is said to have begun writing The Tale of Genji), replacing Lake Biwa with a scene of smoke rising from huts along the coast of Shiogama.

Murasaki Shikibu
Artist Life
1797 - 1858
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Sakai 1981, p. 231, uchiwa-e no. 27
Curator Approved

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bottom part with signature trimmed off