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Murasaki Shikibu and the Tale of Genji About 1000 years ago, the author known as Muarasaki Shikibu created the complex narrative Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari), which is now considered to be the world's first novel. Murasaki began writing stories about Prince Genji as a way to amuse her close circle of friends, but very soon the texts were recopied and circulated throughout Japan, winning her much admiration and a place in the entourage of Empress Shoshi. In 54 chapters Murasaki described the lives of three generations of courtiers and their families. Those fascinating stories about palace intrigues and romantic adventures have, in turn, inspired later authors and artists to emulate and illustrate various versions of the Tale of Genji. Murasaki's narrative has been one of the major sources of inspiration for the visual and performing arts of Japan for a millennium. Very little is known about the woman who wrote the Tale of Genji, even her personal name is uncertain, although she has long been called "Murasaki" after a major character in her story. Her father Fujiwara Tametoki was a poet and scholar of Chinese literature and held various political appointments during the Heian Period, including one in the Ministry of Ceremonies (Shikibu sho). Murasaki Shikibu demonstrates in her diary, poems and Genji that she had an extraordinary command of both Chinese and Japanese literature, and she is listed among Japan's 36 immortal poets (rokkasen).

Showing 26 to 39 of 39 Records

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Title Artist Medium & Support Creation Date
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 11, Hana-chiru-sato   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 35, Wakana-no-ge   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 42, Nio-no-miya   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 51, Ukifune   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 34 Wakananojo   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on paper  1857 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 31, Makibashira   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1857 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 34, Wakana no Jou   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1857 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 15, Yomogiu   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 13, Akashi   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 28, Nowake / The Typhoon   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 17, E-awase / Picture Competition   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 16, Sekiya   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  1857 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 22, Tamakazura   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 17, The Picture Competition, Eawase   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1857 

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