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Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on gilded paper
Image: 154.4 x 351.2 cm (60 13/16 x 138 1/4 in.)
Gift of William G. Mather 1948.124
Folding screens served as temporary dividers in traditional Japanese open-plan architectural spaces. This pair was inspired by Japan’s most celebrated work of literature, the Tale of Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu, an attendant to the empress in the early 11th-century imperial court. The novel follows the love life of the “Shining Prince” Genji and delves into the psychological states of his many companions. Distinct episodes are nestled within a matrix of golden clouds and landscape elements. Each screen includes six episodes presented in a nonlinear fashion, capturing scattered highlights of the story.
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