Excerpts from The Tale of Genji

Calligraphy by Ono no Ozū (Ono no Tsū) Japanese
Paintings by an artist of the Tosa School Japanese

Not on view

Calligraphy in the distinctive style of Ono no Otsū, one of the most prominent woman calligraphers of premodern Japan, graces sheets of decorated paper in this pair of albums with scenes from The Tale of Genji painted by an anonymous Tosa-school artist. Otsū wrote mostly in kana, interspersed with flamboyantly rendered kanji for poetically evocative words. The sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic variations in the weight of the brushstrokes and the radical spacing between characters and clusters of characters are trademarks of her style. Otsū also demonstrated her mastery of the “scattered writing” technique, whereby she artfully disposed the registers of the poem across the page and sometimes positioned lines of the poem out of sequence.

Excerpts from The Tale of Genji, Calligraphy by Ono no Ozū (Ono no Tsū) (Japanese, 1567–1631), Leaves from an orihon album; calligraphies: ink on decorated paper; paintings: ink, color, and gold on paper, Japan

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