Artist: Suzuki Harunobu
Title: Poetess Murasaki Shikibu at Ishiyama Temple in Otsu (shore of Lake Biwa)
Date: c. 1768
Details: More information...
This is another depiction of Lady Murasaki, the author of the Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari), dressed in an Edo period kimono. Seated at a desk on the open veranda of Ishiyama Temple, she appears to be composing her famous novel. Lady Murasaki is often depicted as if she is contemplating the story, leaning on the writing desk and holding a brush. By the mid-Edo period, this image had become a conventional icon of Lady Murasaki. During the Edo period (1615-1868), more women from the middle class, composed of rich and powerful merchants and farmers, had become better educated. They were required to write, compose poetry, and be well versed in etiquette. As a part of this trend, Lady Murasaki might have been used as the ideal female image from the classical Heian period, from which all cultural and social protocols were born. (from Tale of Genji exhibition 1/11/2006-)