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“Early Spring Greens: Part 2” (Wakana ge)

Tosa Mitsuyoshi Japanese
Calligraphy by Yamashina Tokio Japanese

Not on view

The album to which these leaves originally belonged is highly valued for Tosa Mitsuyoshi’s artistry and the calligraphy by eighteen noblemen on uniquely decorated papers with gold and silver and stenciled designs. Ishikawa Tadafusa (1582–1650), a daimyo in service to the Tokugawa shoguns, commissioned the work. Its overall opulence and scenes of an idyllic Rokujō estate and childbirth made it appropriate for inclusion in a bridal trousseau.

To prepare for Emperor Suzaku’s fiftieth-year celebrations, here Genji stages a women’s concert at Rokujō. The Third Princess plays the thirteen-string koto, the Akashi Lady the biwa lute, and Murasaki the Japanese-style six-string koto. Beyond the blinds, Tamakazura’s oldest son plays the pipes, Yūgiri’s son the flute, and Yūgiri tunes the koto for the Akashi Empress, who leans against an armrest.

“Early Spring Greens: Part 2” (Wakana ge), Tosa Mitsuyoshi (Japanese, 1539–1613), From an album of eighty paired paintings and calligraphic texts; ink, color, and gold on paper, Japan

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