2008 marks the 1000th anniversary of Japan’s oldest novel, The Tale of Genji, written by the court-lady Murasaki Shikibu. Since the 12th century, the 54 chapters of the tale have inspired Japanese artists to visualise the fascinating world of the story’s main character the Shining Prince (Hikaru Genji) in countless hand scrolls, folding screens, hanging scrolls and albums. Painted mostly by artists of the Kano, Tosa and Sumiyoshi schools, these pictures (Genji-e) reflect the refined aesthetics of the courtly tradition.
Featuring about 70 works drawn from the Gallery’s collection as well as loans from other Australian major public and private collections of Japanese art, this exhibition aims to show the imaginative power of Japanese artists in adapting the classical theme on various media such as paintings, ukiyo-e prints, woodblock printed books, and manga comics.
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