二品親王女三宮 The Third Princess and Kashiwagi, from Chapter 34, “New Herbs I (Wakana I)” (Nihon shinnō onna sannomiya)
Yōshū (Hashimoto) Chikanobu (Japanese, 1838–1912)
Meiji period (1868–1912)
Triptych of polychrome woodblock prints; ink and color on paper
Each 14 1/4 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 23.5 cm)
Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1985
Not on view
Like his master, Toyohara Kunichika, Chikanobu is known for genre scenes in the triptych format.
This triptych is related to an episode from Chapter 34, or New Herbs I, in the Tale of Genji, in which the youth Kashiwagi happens to notice a kitten running out from under a bamboo blind. He glimpses the elegant figure of the Third Princess, one of Genji's wives, behind the blind and falls in love with her, to disastrous effect. In this image, Chikanobu has transformed the Third Princess into a monumental image of woman. She is no longer the traditionally mysterious woman cloistered in an interior; she invades the outside world, as if she rules over the three courtiers.