Japanese six folds screen from the 17thc, depicting different scenes from the Tale of Genji with Bugaku dancers in the center illustrating Prince Genji dancing “Waves of the Blue Sea.”
Murasaki Shikibu, a Heian noblewoman, wrote the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji around 1000 CE, telling of the times and her love, the illustrious Prince Genji of the Minamoto clan.
Murasaki Shikibu describes Prince Genji dancing Bugaku:
Prince Genji danced “The Waves of the Blue Sea.” There was a wonderful moment when the rays of the setting sun fell upon him and the music grew suddenly louder. Never had the onlookers seen feet tread so delicately nor head so exquisitely; and in the song that followed the first movement of the dance his voice was as sweet as the Kalavinka’s whose music is the Buddha’s law. So moving and beautiful was this dance that at the end of it the emperor’s eyes were wet, and all the princes and great gentlemen wept aloud. When the song was over and, straightening his long dancer’s sleeves, he stood waiting for the music to begin again and at last the more lively tune of the second movement struck up—then indeed, with his flushed and eager face, he merited more than ever his name of Genji, The Shining One. (Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji, p. 129. Translated by Arthur Waley in 1935.)
Screen has been re monted in the 19thc for usual conservation, normal wears to the surface, good general condition
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