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Genji Goes West: The 1510 "Genji Album" and the Visualization of Court and Capital

Melissa McCormick
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 85, No. 1 (Mar., 2003), pp. 54-85
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3177327
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3177327
Page Count: 32
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Genji Goes West: The 1510 "Genji Album" and the Visualization of Court and Capital
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Abstract

The "Tale of Genji Album" (1510) in the Harvard University Art Museums collection is the earliest extant complete pictorialization of Japan's most famous classical tale. This article situates the album within the artistic traditions, geopolitical changes, and complex web of human relationships that resulted in its production. Commissioned in Kyoto by a regional warlord to take back to the western provinces, the "Genji Album" provides numerous insights into Japan's "culture of "Genji"" and demonstrates the key role of the painter Tosa Mitsunobu in the new strategies of self-fashioning among Kyoto aristocrats of the sixteenth century.

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