Scene from The Tale of Genji: Chapter 4, "Evening Face" (Yūgao)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Matted painting; ink and color on silk
8 x 8 in. (20.3 x 20.3 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Morris Manges, in memory of her husband, Dr. Morris Manges, 1947
Not on view
This scene illustrates a celebrated chapter in The Tale of Genji, “Evening Faces (Yūgao).” Genji stops to inquire after his old nurse and glimpses pretty foreheads in the humble house next to the nurse’s home. He looks up at white “evening faces,” flowers over the wall of the house, and asks his attendant Koremitsu to break one off. A pretty little girl comes out and hands him a heavily scented white fan, saying, “Put it on this. It is not much of a fan, but it is not much of a flower either.” Genji then begins his ephemeral and tragic affair with Yūgao. Shortly thereafter, Yūgao dies as a result of the jealousy of Rokujō Lady.
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. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human Figure in Japanese Art," 2007–2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Storytelling in Japanese Art," November 19, 2011–May 6, 2012.