Klaus Naumann, Tokyo, to 2002
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Klaus Naumann in 2002
- Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)
This depiction of one the most famous scenes from the Tale of Genji (Chapter 34). As a group of young courtiers engages in a game of kick ball (kemari), Nyosan, concubine to Prince Genji spies on the players from inside her screened room. Her escaping cat bursts through the hanging drapery, offering courtier Kashiwagi a forbidden glimpse of Nyosan. The moment leads to a sad affair between Kashiwagi and Nyosan in which Genji is the cuckold and leads to the birth of Kaoru, a son whom Genji must accept even though he knows the truth of the liaison.
This hanging scroll illustrates one of the most famous scenes from The Tale of Genji. Concealed behind a bamboo screen, Prince Genji's new wife, known as the Third Princess, watches a game of kemari (kickball). Suddenly, her cat rushes out, offering a brief glimpse of the princess to Genji's rival at court, Kashiwagi. They begin an affair that leads to the birth of a son, Kaoru, whom Genji must accept even though he is aware of the illicit liaison.
Reizei Tamechika, who worked as an official court painter in the nineteenth century, created this elegant rendition of the famous scene. His work reflects the refined style and technical perfection that characterized court painting from the Heian period (794-1185)--when The Tale of Genji was written--to Tamechika's era at the end of the Edo period (1615-1868). The artist imbued this frequently rendered scene with lively expression in the movements of the courtiers and a sensitive evocation of the moment within a serene spring setting.
- Published References
- Roger V. Des Forges, John S. Major. The Asian World 600-1500. Medieval and Early Modern World New York. p. 75.
- John T. Carpenter, Melissa McCormick. The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated. Exh. cat. New York, New York, 2019. p. 207, fig. 65.
- Collection Area(s)
- Japanese Art
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
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