Parody of Murasaki, from "Lavender" (Wakamurasaki), chapter 5 of the Tale of Genji
Kawamata Tsuneyuki (1676 (?)–1741)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
14 3/8 x 18 5/8 in. (36.5 x 47.3 cm)
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936
Not on view
The Tale of Genji was the most celebrated courtly romance of the twelfth century. The scene parodied here refers to the moment when the story's protagonist, Genji, glimpses the young Murasaki for the first time, gazing upon her as she sorrowfully observes a baby sparrow that has gotten free of its cage. Murasaki would later become Genji's favorite love. The artist has translated the figure of Murasaki into a confident, contemporary woman, standing in an assured pose and flanked by cherry blossoms. She assumes a central position, while the spying Genji has been eliminated from the scene. Instead, it is the viewer who is invited to observe her beauty.