Past Exhibitions

The Phantom Genji Scrolls
January 2, 2020 - February 16, 2020

In January 2019, a long-lost handscroll that depicts Chapter 4, "The Lady of Evening Faces" (Yūgao), from The Tale of Genji (11th c.), has been discovered in France and made big news. In the scroll, the hero of the tale, Prince Genji, is shown in a rarely depicted scene grieving over the death of his lover, Yūgao. The set of handscrolls from which it comes, is referred to as the "Phantom Genji Scrolls," so called because it is now dispersed across multiple collections around the world, while the whereabouts of some scrolls still remain unknown. The coordination of its production is attributed Moriyasu Sugihara (dates unknown), hence named the Moriyasu version. Whereas most of the Genji scrolls feature only certain episodes from the tale, this version is thought to have been created with the intension of illustrating the entire novel. Articulated in a new way departing drastically from the traditional renderings, the scrolls are considered an important example of early Edo-period art. The section of "Phantom Genji Scrolls" on display in this exhibition illustrates Chapter 9 of the tale, "Leaves of Wild Ginger" (Aoi), which centers on death of the protagonist's wife, Aoi.

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