These screens depict the “Takebun” episode of “The New Piece” (“Shinkyoku”), an example of the kōwakamai type of musical drama popular in the sixteenth century. Originally derived from a tragic episode from the fourteenth-century historical epic Taiheiki and later adapted into a Noh play, “Takebun” centers on the eponymous hero, the bravest and most loyal retainer of an imperial prince. In the right screen, Takebun, the repeated figure wearing a green robe, attempts to rescue the prince’s wife, who has been kidnapped by a samurai. Takebun ultimately fails to rescue the prince’s wife and thus commits ritual suicide, a scene depicted in the fifth panel from the right. The left screen depicts the events after Takebun’s suicide, when he is transformed into a vengeful spirit that takes the shape of crashing waves in an attempt to thwart the samurai’s progress.
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Title:“Takebun,” from the Musical Drama “The New Piece” (“Shinkyoku”)
Period:Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:early 17th century
Medium:Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, gold and silver leaf on paper
Dimensions:Image (each): 61 11/16 in. × 11 ft. 11 5/16 in. (156.7 × 364 cm) Overall (each): 67 3/16 in. × 12 ft. 4 13/16 in. (170.7 × 378 cm)
Credit Line:Mary Griggs Burke Collection, Gift of the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, 2015
Accession Number:2015.300.104.1, .2
Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)
Richmond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. "Jewel Rivers: Japanese Art from The Burke Collection.," October 25, 1993–January 2, 1994.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art. "Jewel Rivers: Japanese Art from The Burke Collection.," February 26, 1994–April 24, 1994.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "Jewel Rivers: Japanese Art from The Burke Collection.," October 14, 1994–January 1, 1995.
New York. Asia Society. "Golden Fantasies: Japanese Screens from New York Collections," January 13, 2004–June 27, 2004.
Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," July 5, 2005–August 19, 2005.
Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," October 4, 2005–December 11, 2005.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," January 24, 2006–March 5, 2006.
Miho Museum. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," March 15, 2006–June 11, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Storytelling in Japanese Art," November 19, 2011–May 6, 2012.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Celebrating the Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," October 20, 2015–May 14, 2017.
Tsuji Nobuo 辻惟雄, Mary Griggs Burke, Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha 日本経済新聞社, and Gifu-ken Bijutsukan 岐阜県美術館. Nyūyōku Bāku korekushon-ten: Nihon no bi sanzennen no kagayaki ニューヨーク・バーク・コレクション展 : 日本の美三千年の輝き(Enduring legacy of Japanese art: The Mary Griggs Burke collection). Exh. cat. [Tokyo]: Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha, 2005, cat. no. 75.
Watanabe, Masako. Storytelling in Japanese Art. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011, pp. 80–83, 109, cat. no 9.
Murase, Miyeko, Il Kim, Shi-yee Liu, Gratia Williams Nakahashi, Stephanie Wada, Soyoung Lee, and David Sensabaugh. Art Through a Lifetime: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection. Vol. 1, Japanese Paintings, Printed Works, Calligraphy. [New York]: Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, , p. 182, cat. no. 209.
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