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.
Marking: [almost faded out] Tsuneyuki
Howard Mansfield , New York (until 1936; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Kyūbi no Kitsune: Legends of the Nine-Tailed Fox," 1994.
Ithaca. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. "The Tale of Genji: Splendor and Innovation in Edo Culture," March 29, 1997–June 15, 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Resonant Image: Tradition in Japanese Art (Part Two)," April 27, 1998–September 27, 1998.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human Figure in Japanese Art," 2007–2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Beautiful Country: Yamato-e in Japanese Art," November 20, 2010–June 5, 2011.