Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 2
August 2, 2022 (Tue) - August 28, 2022 (Sun)
Tokyo National Museum is celebrating its 150th anniversary. During its long history, the Museum accumulated an extensive collection, including many artworks of great artistic or historical value. Not all these works, however, are designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. From among these works, our curators have selected what they consider "Future National Treasures" for display in this gallery in 2022.
Scenes of "The First Warbler" and "New Herbs" from The Tale of Genji
By Tosa Mitsuoki
Edo period, 17th century
The noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu wrote The Tale of Genji in the early 11th century. This novel about romance at the imperial court became a classic and inspired Japanese art for centuries to come. These screens illustrate two chapters from the novel: "The First Warbler" on the right, and "New Herbs, Part I" on the left.
The artist, Tosa Mitsuoki (1617–91), specialized in traditional Japanese themes and often painted for the imperial court. He added a unique element to these screens by painting thin, horizontal lines across each composition. These lines depict bamboo blinds, creating the illusion that the viewer in peeking through the blinds into the intimate world of The Tale of Genji.