Summer Robe (Katabira) with Seasonal Landscapes and Scenes from The Tale of Genji


Not on view

This robe exemplifies the exquisitely embroidered and dyed robes made in the late Edo period for high-ranking samurai ladies, especially in daimyo households. They came to be referred to as “imperial court style” garments, as the landscapes and seasonal plants combine with motifs referencing Noh plays, poems, or classical literature such as The Tale of Genji to evoke aristocratic life in the Heian period. The motifs consist of pines, plum and cherry blossoms, chrysanthemums, maple leaves, reeds, clouds, rocks, and streams. The stylized landscapes include spring patterns, a half-moon, and autumn flowers. The scene showing the Nonomiya shrine on the back of the right sleeve is from Chapter 10, “A Branch of Sacred Evergreens.” On the right of the lower section, the depiction of the koto refers to the best-known scene of Chapter 2, “Broom Cypress”—the so-called “appraisal of women on a rainy night” episode.

Summer Robe (Katabira) with Seasonal Landscapes and Scenes from The Tale of Genji, Plain-weave ramie with paste resist-dyeing, silk-thread embroidery, and gold-thread couching, Japan

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