The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter


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In the classical narrative depicted here, a baby found in a glowing bamboo stalk by an old bamboo cutter grows to be a woman of unearthly beauty. Unwilling to marry, Kaguya-hime (The Shining Princess) sets her suitors tasks they are unable to fulfill. The emperor desires her, but she reveals that she is from the moon and will soon return there. Although the emperor sends soldiers to guard her, a retinue from the moon arrives and ascends to the moon with her.

The lacquer storage box for these three volumes is decorated with a maki-e (“sprinkled picture”) design of a bamboo grove, two birds, and the crest of the Tokugawa family.

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Hand-illustrated set of three volumes; ink, color, gold, and silver on paper, Japan

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