Returned to lender The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.
Robe (Furisode) with Maple Tree, Bamboo Fence, and Characters from “Little Purple Gromwell” (Wakamurasaki)
Not on view
This long-sleeved robe (furisode) of white satin, a material usually reserved for Noh costumes, is quite rare. A maple tree embroidered in vivid colors spreads across the upper half of the robe, and a bamboo fence in green with gold accents decorates the lower half. Two strikingly large characters that read wakamurasaki 若紫 refer to the name of the heroine and the title of Chapter 5, usually symbolized by blossoming cherry trees. The maple tree depicted here, however, may connote the autumn season, when Genji brings young Murasaki to his residence, and the maple and the bamboo are both auspicious symbols of longevity. A design nearly identical to this one appears in a woodblock-printed textile pattern book (hinagata-bon) dating to 1697.