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Illustrated Legends of Ishiyamadera (Ishiyamadera engi emaki), Scroll 4

Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu Japanese

Not on view

Found among the thirty-three miraculous stories in the Illustrated Legends of Ishiyamadera is this earliest dated image of Murasaki Shikibu looking at the moon as she begins writing her tale. She stands in profile, wearing the red sash of a religious pilgrim and pushing aside the blinds to gaze toward the dark blue waters of Lake Biwa. Toward the left, the illusory image of the moon’s reflection comes into view, floating atop the waves.

The calligraphy has been attributed to the prominent courtier Sanjōnishi Sanetaka (1455–1537).

Illustrated Legends of Ishiyamadera (Ishiyamadera engi emaki), Scroll 4, Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu (Japanese, active ca. 1462–1525), Handscroll from a set of seven; ink and color on paper, Japan

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