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Genji: A Picture Album

Genji: A Picture Album

McCormick, Melissa, with contributions by John T. Carpenter, Monika Bincsik, and Kyoko Kinoshita
48 pages
37 illustrations
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Considered the world’s first psychological novel, The Tale of Genji has captivated audiences around the globe and inspired artistic traditions for a thousand years. This picture album presents stunning works derived from the epic account of Japanese court life, welcoming the reader into a world of romance and political intrigue. The engaging text provides an overview of the visual interpretation of Genji, from twelfth-century handscrolls to contemporary manga. Accessible and handsomely illustrated, this enchanting picture album wonderfully evokes the artistic tradition inspired by a revered and celebrated work of Japanese literature.

“Channel Markers” (Miotsukushi), Handscroll; ink and color on paper, Japan
late 14th–early 15th century
“Butterflies”, Tosa Mitsuyoshi  Japanese, Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper, Japan
late 16th–early 17th century
“An Imperial Excursion” (Miyuki), “A Boat Cast Adrift” (Ukifune), and “The Barrier Gate” (Sekiya), Tosa Mitsuyoshi  Japanese, Painted sliding doors (fusuma-e) remounted as a pair of four-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper, Japan
mid-16th–early 17th century
Albums of scenes from The Tale of Genji, Tosa Mitsunori  Japanese, Two albums of thirty leaves; ink, red pigment, and gold on paper, Japan
early 17th century
Stacked Food Box (Jūbako) with “Whose Sleeves?” (Tagasode) Design, Lacquered wood with gold and silver hiramaki-e, gold- and silver-foil application, and mother-of-pearl inlay on gold nashiji (“pear-skin”) ground, Japan
18th century
Goose and Reeds; Willows in the Moonlight, Maruyama Ōkyo 円山応挙  Japanese, Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color and gold on paper, Japan
right screen: 1774; left screen: 1793
The Illustrated Tale of Genji, Yamamoto Shunshō  Japanese, Twenty-four woodblock-printed volumes; ink on paper, Japan
ca. 1650
Parody of Murasaki Shikibu at Her Desk, Okumura Masanobu  Japanese, Monochrome woodblock print (sumizuri-e); ink on paper, Japan
ca. 1710
Mitsuuji with Mountain Roses (Yamabuki), from the series “Six Jewel Faces” (Mu tama-gao), Utagawa Kunisada  Japanese, Uncut fan print; ink and color on paper, Japan
mid-to-late 1830s
Bellflowers (Asagao), from the series Genji in Fashionable Modern Guise (Fūryū yatsushi Genji: Asagao), Chōbunsai Eishi 鳥文斎栄之  Japanese, Triptych of woodblock prints; ink and color on paper, Japan

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McCormick, Melissa. 2019. Genji: A Picture Album. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.