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Tale of Genji

This pair of screens depicts scenes from the eleventh-century novel Tale of Genji. Loosely based on events of the time, the novel centers on the amorous adventures of Prince Genji and his descendants and friends, as well as the complex emotions of loss, envy, despair, and devotion. The top screen depicts Prince Genji peering through a rustic fence at Murasaki, his ward and future paramour. On the bottom, Genji’s grandson, Prince Niou, looks through a doorway at the young Ukifune, a reference to the story of the couple’s involvement in a tragic love triangle.

Kano School
Japanese, Edo period (1615–1868)
Tale of Genji
Late 17th century
Pair of six-fold screens; ink, colors, and gold on paper
64 ¾ x 146 ½ in. (164.46 x 372.10 cm) each
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 66.11, 66.12