- Museum number
- Object: Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji)
Painting, folding album. Fifty-four drawings, scenes from Genji Monogatari, with text passages opposite each. Ink, light colours and gold on paper.
- Production date
Height: 14.70 centimetres (covers)
Width: 13 centimetres (covers)
- Curator's comments
Chapter 28, 'The Typhoon' (Nowake). Lady Murasaki watches her maids struggle with blinds in a strong wind. All 54 paintings are executed in the delicate 'hakubyo (literally 'white drawing') style. (Label copy, TTC 1996)
Smith et al 1990
The scene is from Chapter 51 of 'The Tale of Genji', Japan's greatest work of literature and one of the most common artistic subjects. Here, near the end of the story, the Lady Ukifune (meaning 'Floating Boat'), occasional mistress of Kaoru, is taken in a boat in midwinter across the Uji River by Prince Niou, who is Kaoru's old friend. This is one of the most striking events in the story, and one of the most frequently illustrated. Opposite is a very brief digest of the incident in fine calligraphy.
The illustration is in the style of the Tosa school and in the most refined of all Japanese painting techniques, known as 'hakubyo' (literally 'white drawing'). Only ink, heightened with a lacquering agent, is applied with very fine brushes on to a highly prepared and glazed paper, with meticulously applied bands of gold mist. It was used only for courtly classics on the most allusive and poetic subjects.
Murase, Miyeko, 'The Iconography of the Tale of Genji', New York and London,1983.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2006 Oct 13-2007 Jun 10, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Jap.Ptg.114 (Japanese Painting Number)
Other BM number: Anderson No. 509 (annotation in Anderson 1886)