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Sep 24, 2020

Trefoil Knots from Album of Illustrations for the Tale of Genji

Trefoil Knots from Album of Illustrations for the Tale of Genji

源氏絵画帖 総角

1600s

Part of a set. See all set records

Accordion album; ink, light color, and gold on paper

Each leaf: 26.3 x 22 cm (10 3/8 x 8 11/16 in.); Painting only: 17 x 20.6 cm (6 11/16 x 8 1/8 in.)

Gift of Vera Sterne in memory of her husband, Maurice Sterne 1961.202.q

Location

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The illustrations are identified by chapter title in cartouches to the upper right of the paintings.

Description

This album contains illustrations for the classic literary work the Tale of Genji, authored in the 1000s by Murasaki Shikibu, an aristocrat of the Heian period (794–1185) court. The scenes are painted in the “white drawing” (hakubyō) mode, in which a fine ink line is used to depict figures and spaces with great subtlety, punctuated only occasionally by traces of red pigment for a character’s lips, a detail of a garment, or a decorative element. These two scenes illustrate episodes from the chapters “Thin Veil of Cloud” (Usugumo) and “Barrier Gate” (Sekiya).

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