The Tale of Genji, Chapter 4; Yugao (one of a pair with F1965.5)

Maker(s)
Artist: Kano Naonobu (1607-1650)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, early 17th century
School
Kano
Medium
Ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 153.7 x 352.6 cm (60 1/2 x 138 13/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1965.6
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Screen (six-panel)

Keywords
Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, The Tale of Genji, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

This is one of a pair of folding screens illustrating two of the fifty-four chapters in The Tale of Genji, a narrative composed in the early eleventh century by a lady of the court known as Murasaki Shikibu. This fictional biography of Prince Genji, whose life was filled with romance and tragedy, was a frequent subject of Japanese paintings.

This screen represents chapter four, "Yugao," named for the flowering vine that trails from the roof of a modest house wherein the beautiful resident is known only by the name of the same flower. Here Prince Genji's attendant receives a yugao blossom upon a fan, while the prince waits outside in his carriage.

The painter Kano Naonobu chose monochromatic ink and thin color washes for a theme that was more commonly illustrated in lavish color and gold. The dreamlike effect of the mists and washes is poetically evocative of the mood of each episode. Naonobu was an official painter who served the Tokugawa shogun.

Published References
  • Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts: Japanese Art at the Time of the Samurai. vol. 88, no. 1/4. Detroit. .
  • Zaigai Nihon no Shiho [Japanese Art: Selections from Western Collections]. 10 vols., Tokyo, 1979 - 1980. vol. 4: p. 143, pl. 90.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 81, vol. 2: p. 176.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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