Important Cultural PropertyScene from the Gatehouse (Sekiya) chapter of The Tale of Genji

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  • Attributed to Tawaraya Sōtatsu, inscription by Karasumaru Mitsuhiro
  • Six-fold screen
  • Color on gold leafed paper
  • 95.5x273.0
  • Edo period/17th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • A-12190

This is a painting version of the "Sekiya" ("The Gatehouse") chapter of Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji). Karasumaru Mitsuhiro (1579—1638) wrote down a passage from "Sekiya" and his own waka (a form of Japanese poetry) on the picture. The situation described in the chapter is that Hikaru Genji comes upon the party of his former lover, Utsusemi, at the gate of Ousaka on the way to Ishiyama Temple for worship. The picture depicts only Utsusemi's party in the foreground with no objects in the background. They are waiting with their ox carriage parked, making room for Genji and his party to pass. It has been pointed out that the images of the attendants in various poses are taken from yamato-e (Japanese painting) produced earlier, such as Saigyou Monogatari Emaki (narrative paintings of the tale of Saigyou), and Kitano Tenjin Engi Emaki (narrative paintings of the origin and history of Kitano Tenjin). The painting has the signature of Soutatsu Hokkyō (title for excellent painters and high-class monks) and a round seal with "Taiseiken" (another name of Sotatsu) in red. Also, there is Mitsuhiro's kaou (designed seal-mark) that he used in his latest years for praises.
In Sumiyoshi-ke Koga Tomechou (the Koga family's record of old paintings, owned by Tokyo University of the Arts), it is written that, at the request of Tougakuin Houitsu (Sakai Houitsu), Sujmiyoshi Hironao (1781—1828) authenticated this byoubu as a genuine Soutatsu painting on the thirteenth of August, Bunka 12 (1815)..