Sakai Hoitsu, (1761-1828)
Akikonomu Chugu (from The Tale of Genji)
hanging scroll, ink, color, gold and silver on silk, signed Hoitsu Kishin hitsu, with two artists's seals Ugedojin and Bunsen; accompanied by a wood storage box inscribed on the lid, Akikonomu Chugu zu, Hoitsu hitsu Yukihiko shiki (Akikonomu Empress painting, by Hoitsu, certified by Yukihiko), with unread artist's seal of Yasuda Yukihiko (1884-1978)
painting: 39 7/8 by 15 7/8 in., 101.2 by 40.2 cm
overall: 74 3/8 by 19 1/2 in., 189 by 49.5 cm
This painting illustrates one of the numerous women pursued by the protagonist Prince Genji in the novel The Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari). Commonly known by her sobriquet, Akikonomu (lit. 'the one who favors autumn'), she is the former Priestess of Ise, the second consort of Emperor Reizei, and the daughter Lady Rokujo (a jealous former lover of Genji). Like many of the women in the story, Akikonomu had a complex relationship with Genji; she was adopted by Genji at the request of Lady Rokujo before she died (in part from guilt for having contributed to the death of Aoi, another tragic former lover of Genji). Genji of course fell in love with his ward, and in the Usugumo chapter (chapter 19, 'Wisps of Clouds'), he asks her which season she prefers, to which she responds that she prefers autumn, the season when her mother departed. As an expression of his devotion, Genji created a pavilion in the Rokujo-in just for Akikonomu with plantings specifically chosen for their beauty in the autumn.
According to the catalogue from the Hoitsu exhibition cited below, a reference in the Korin shinsen hyakuzu (New Series of 100 Works by Korin), a two volume anthology published in 1864 and compiled by Ikeda Koson (1801-1866), indicates that the composition of this painting was derived by Hoitsu directly from a painting of the same subject by Ogata Korin (1658-1716) which is currently in the collection of the MOA Museum.
Exhibited and Published:
Matsuo Tomoko, and Okano Tomoko, Sakai Hoitsu to Edo Rinpa no zenbo (Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Sakai Hoitsu's Birth, Sakai Hoitsu and the Edo Rinpa School), Chiba City Museum, Kyurudo (publisher), 2011, cat. no. 84
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site last updated
April 7, 2020
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