This small print shows the landscape around Lake Biwa, one of Japan’s most famous and culturally important bodies of water. Located near the ancient Imperial capital of Kyoto, the lake was the site of the Ishiyamadera (Ishiyama Temple), where the court lady Murasaki Shikibu is said to have begun writing the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji, during a full moon night in August 1004. This landscape print was not simply a scene of great natural beauty but one rich in literary associations. These cultural references were previously reserved for the upper classes in literature and paintings but were becoming available to the townspeople of Edo (modern Tokyo) through printed books and images like these.
Colored ink on paper; woodblock print; aiban yoko-e.
Ninteenth century Japanese color woodblock print depicting a scene, perhaps of Dera Temple in Ishiyama.
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