Scenes from The Tale of Genji: “The Royal Outing,” “Ukifune,” and “The Gatehouse”
Tosa Mitsuyoshi (Japanese, 1539–1613)
Momoyama period (1573–1615)
mid-16th–early 17th century
Pair of four-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper
Image (each screen): 65 1/2 in. × 11 ft. 8 in. (166.4 × 355.6 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1955
Not on view
These screens, originally mounted on sliding panels, were most likely part of a larger set that enclosed a room. In the central of the right screen, representing “The Royal Outing” chapter, princes and high courtiers approach in procession while falconers and huntsmen rush to hunt. In the scene at lower left, Prince Niou, Genji’s grandson, abducts the young Princess Ukifune in heavy snowfall. On the left screen, Prince Genji’s ox carriage and his former love Utsusemi’s carriage unexpectedly pass each other at Sekiya, the barrier-keepers gatehouse.
An inscription on the far left-hand panel attributes the work to Tosa Mitsuyoshi, primarily known for his delicate album-leaf paintings on classical themes. The inscription also identifies the panel as a replacement painted by Mitsuyoshi’s grandson, Tosa Mitsuoki (1617–1691).
Inscription: "Paintings of Miyuki, Sekiya and Ukifune from the Genji Monogatari. My forbear Mitsuyoshi painted them but there was a place lacking [or perhaps damaged] at the end, and the head of our house Mitsuoki repaired it. The fifth year of the Genroku (1692) and the [cyclical year] jin shin, mid-spring between the 20th and 30th day, [signed] Tosa Sakon'e Shōgen Fujiwara Mitsunari. (1646-1710)" (Translation by A.G. Wenley of Freer Gallery, except for the last word, "-nari", which was translated by A. Lippe)
Artist: Circle of Tosa Mitsuyoshi (Japanese, 1539–1613)Date: early 17th centuryMedium: Album leaves mounted as a pair of hanging scrolls; ink, gold, silver, and color on paperAccession: 2015.300.33a, bOn view in:Gallery 226