Exhibition Room6 The Flowering of the Courtly Tradition

Exhibition Room6 PhotoThe twelfth century Illustrated Handscroll of The Tale of Genji ranks as a masterpiece in Japanese art and the most famous object in The Tokugawa Art Museum collection.
Scholars believe that aristocrats originally commissioned twenty scrolls of text and painted illustrations from calligraphers and artists at the imperial court in Kyoto. Chosen were the lyrical and emotional high-points of the romantic novel, The Tale of Genji, which had been written nearly a century earlier by MURASAKI SHIKIBU, a court lady. Only sections from three of the scrolls handed down in the Owari Tokugawa family and from one scroll long held by the Hachisuka family (now in the Gotoh Museum) survive today. These are the earliest known paintings, and in fact earliest extant text, of The Tale of Genji.
The Tale of Genji proved a central current in the culture and visual arts throughout the Edo period. Painters, particularly working in the Japanese style (yamato-e), such as the Tosa school, found in it endless inspiration.
The early twelfth century National Treasure is too vulnerable to light and air to be continuously on display. Therefore this exhibit space has been organized to present aspects of both the original masterpiece and the Edo tradition through later versions, photographs, modern reproductions and a video program.

Illustrated Tale of Genji:The 44th quire Takekawa
 
Illustrated Tale of Genji:The 44th quire Takekawa

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Illustrated Tale of Genji:The 49th quire Yadorigi
 
Illustrated Tale of Genji:The 49th quire Yadorigi
 

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Illustrated Tale of Genji:The 49th quire Yadorigi
 
Picture scrool of the Tale of Genji:Scene from the chapter of Hashihime and Yodori II

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