Tosa Mitsuyoshi Japanese

Not on view

This single screen, one of the finest examples of painting by Tosa Mitsuyoshi, encapsulates the imagined visual splendor of Genji’s Rokujō estate and conflates episodes from two different days in one composition. Ladies-in-waiting from the autumn quadrant of the Umetsubo Empress (Akikonomu) have arrived in Murasaki’s spring garden on a water bird boat on the upper left. The foreground scene takes place the next day, when page girls spectacularly costumed as paradisal kalavinka birds and butterflies of the court bugaku dance arrive at the autumn quadrant via dragon boat. The girls have been sent by Murasaki with flower offerings for the Empress’s sutra reading. The profusion of cherry blossoms throughout the screen illustrates the dominance of the spring season.

“Butterflies”, Tosa Mitsuyoshi (Japanese, 1539–1613), Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper, Japan

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