This pair of miniature Japanese folding screens- byōbu, are exceptional quality reproductions of the original six-section larger screens painted by Tawaraya Sōtatsu who was active in Kyōto, Japan from 1600 - 1630.* He was given the rank of hokkyō, an honorary title conferred on distinguished artists and the original screens are considered a national treasure and are in the Seikado Bunko Art Museum, Tokyo. Each of the two ink and color and gold leaf scenes depict a different chapter from the The Tale of Genji, the world's first novel.**
Miotsukushi, or The Pilgrimage to Sumiyoshi is the title of chapter 14 and is illustrated in the screen painting with the gathering by the river. Sekiya, which translates to At The Pass is the title of chapter 16 and is illustrated in the painting with the gate.
These two beautiful miniatures are a boxed set, are of superior quality and are in perfect condition. They each measure 8 3/4 inches high by 19 inches wide and are ingeniously and sturdily constructed of paper.
*a fascinating biography of the artist is available on the encyclopedia britannica website. **Murasaki Shikibu, born in 978, was a member of Japan's Fujiwara clan, which ruled behind the scenes during the Heian Period by providing the brides and courtesans of all the emperors. Lady Murasaki's rare literary talent, particularly her skill as a poet, secured her a place in the court of Empress Akiko. After the death of her husband, she cloistered herself to study Buddhism, raise her daughter, and write the world's first novel Genji Monogatari, the tale of the shining Prince Genji.
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