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“First Song of Spring” (Hatsune)

Kano Seisen'in Osanobu Japanese

Not on view

This freestanding screen (tsuitate) demonstrates how Genji imagery was used on interior furnishings. Metal fittings bearing the Tokugawa family crests indicate that it likely formed part of a prestigious wedding dowry set. The painting shows Genji visiting his daughter, the Akashi Princess, who has received from her mother, the Akashi Lady, gifts of New Year’s delicacies, seedling pines, and a poem in which she laments not hearing “the warbler’s first song.” Genji urges the Akashi Princess to respond to her mother, from whom she has been separated. While this screen does not have Kano Seisen’in Osanobu’s signature or seal, comparisons with signed works strongly suggest that it was either by him or an artist working directly under his supervision.

“First Song of Spring” (Hatsune), Kano Seisen'in Osanobu (Japanese, 1796–1846), Freestanding (partitioning) screen; ink, color, gold, and silver on paper, Japan

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