Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Imperial Carts (Gosho guruma)

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
mid-17th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold on gilt paper
Dimensions:
65 3/4 x 148 1/2in. (167 x 377.2cm)
Classification:
Screens
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. P. H. B. Frelinghuysen, 1962
Accession Number:
62.98.5
Not on view
Lowered blinds tantalizingly suggest the presence of a beautiful lady or an elegant lord. This painting alludes to several classic literary scenes, among them an account in the "Heartvine" (Aoi) chapter of the Tale of Genji in which the attendants of Genji's mistresses create a crush of carts as they compete for the most advantageous position from which to view the Kamo festival. Combined with the motif of the heartvine, the ladies' beautifully appointed vehicles were a popular subject for lacquerware decoration. Here, devoid of human presence or of any evidence of the scuffle, the subject is treated as a purely decorative representation of the carts, quietly set among the delicate pinks of early summer.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Textiles," 1991.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human and Not-So-Human Figure in Japanese Art," 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Spring and Summer," December 17, 2005–June 4, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Beautiful Country: Yamato-e in Japanese Art," November 20, 2010–June 5, 2011.

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