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Section of an Illustrated Tale of Genji Poetry Contest

Section of an Illustrated Tale of Genji Poetry Contest

源氏物語歌合絵 断簡

1400s

Section of a handscroll mounted as a hanging scroll; ink on paper

Image: 14.4 x 39.9 cm (5 11/16 x 15 11/16 in.); Mounted with knobs: 91.2 x 56.9 cm (35 7/8 x 22 3/8 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leighton R. Longhi 1989.119

Location

Exhibition

Stories in Japanese Art (Japanese art rotation)

Did you know?

General Blackbeard laments having smelly ash poured upon him by his angry wife in one of the poems.

Description

This hanging scroll was once part of a handscroll depicting a waka (thirty-one syllable verse) poetry contest between characters from the 11th-century literary classic Tale of Genji. In this section, a woman known informally as Kumoi no kari, or “Goose in Fog,” after a lovelorn line she hums in the novel, is pitted against Higekuro no taishō, or “General Blackbeard.” Three of his poems, numbered 46 to 48, from “The Handsome Pillar” chapter appear over his image. The subsequent three poems inscribed above Kumoi no kari are presented as her “responses,” and come from "The Plum Tree Branch", “New Wisteria Leaves”, and "Evening Mist" chapters.

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