Murasaki Gazing at the Moon at Ishiyama Temple, c. 1847-1848

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For this fan print, Utagawa Hiroshige depicted the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu, author of The Tale of Genji. It is said that Murasaki began writing her novel while viewing the harvest moon over Lake Biwa during a stay at the Buddhist temple Ishiyamadera. For this print, Hiroshige imagines Murasaki gazing at the moon and lost in thought, perhaps conceiving of her would-be novel and about to begin writing. Seated at a low writing desk, she holds a writing brush in her right hand and rests her left elbow on a blank sheet of paper. Visible at lower left is the edge of an inkstone.

Murasaki Gazing at the Moon at Ishiyama Temple
Artist Life
1797 - 1858
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Sakai 1981, p. 229, additional uchiwa-e no. 126
Curator Approved

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