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Genji

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Japan Anonymous, Japanese
Four-Panel Genji Screen, Tale of Genji: Beneath the Autumn Leaves, Chapter 7, n.d.
paints and metallics on paper
42 5/8 x 100 in. (108 x 254 cm)


Object Type: Screen
Technique: Painting
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Risa and Chris Engle in Honor of Maiya and Leah
Accession Number: 2018.18.2


Commentary
This four-panel folding screen is decorated with an autumn scene from The Tale of Genji. The scene is from Chapter 7 of the novel and is set at the Suzaku Palace in the tenth month. Under the autumn leaves, Genji performs a dance along with another courtier, To no Chujo, and garners much admiration from the Emperor as well as various ladies of the court, a number of whom have been romantically involved with Genji. The painting in mineral pigments on gold leaf is in the Tosa style, the native Japanese style of painting typically used to depict scenes from Heian period (794-1185) literature and the Heian court. The lines are very fine, mineral pigments are applied densely in certain areas, and scenes are often shown aerially, from a bird’s eye viewpoint. In this screen, gold clouds also frame most of the scene.

- Meher McArthur, Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Curator of Academic Programs and Collections, 2021

Object Description
A large pine tree is in the very center of the work. It extends into the two middle screens. To the left are two flowering trees. Scenes from Genji are depicted on the left and right. The background is in gold.

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