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Scenes from the Tale of Genji

Asian Art

The port cities of colonial Spanish America were thriving centers of trade in international luxury goods. Japanese screens were recorded in New Spain by 1614, when Edo period examples decorated with golden clouds were introduced as diplomatic gifts. These biombos—whose name is derived from byobu, the Japanese word for folding screen—found immediate favor with the viceroyalty’s prosperous elite, inspiring Mexican variations throughout the colonial period (see nearby example).


Las ciudades portuarias de la Hispanoamérica colonial eran prósperos centros del comercio internacional de objetos de lujo. Los biombos japoneses aparecen registrados en la Nueva España desde 1614, cuando algunos ejemplares del periodo Edo decorados con nubes de oro se presentaron como regalos diplomáticos. Estos biombos—cuyo nombre proviene de byobu, la palabra japonesa para pantalla plegable—encontraron el inmediato favor de la próspera élite de los virreyes y sirvieron de inspiración para versiones mexicanas durante todo el periodo colonial (ver ejemplo cercano).
MEDIUM Six-panel screen, ink and color on paper
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES first half of 17th century
    PERIOD Edo Period
    DIMENSIONS Overall: 66 3/8 x 150 in. (168.6 x 381 cm) each panel: 66 3/8 x 25 in. (168.6 x 63.5 cm) image (outer panel): 60 x 22 in. (152.4 x 55.9 cm) image (inner panel): 60 x 24 1/2 in. (152.4 x 62.2 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 81.283
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. John Fleming
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Scenes from the Tale of Genji, first half of 17th century. Six-panel screen, ink and color on paper, Overall: 66 3/8 x 150 in. (168.6 x 381 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. John Fleming, 81.283. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 81.283_SL3.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 81.283_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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     <em>Scenes from the Tale of Genji</em>, first half of 17th century. Six-panel screen, ink and color on paper, Overall: 66 3/8 x 150 in. (168.6 x 381 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. John Fleming, 81.283. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 81.283_SL3.jpg)