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Tale of the Wisteria Robe

Asian Art

MEDIUM Ink on mica-flecked paper
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 15th century
    PERIOD Muromachi Period
    DIMENSIONS 6 5/8 x 405 1/4 in. (16.8 x 1029.3 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 81.198
    CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Tale of the Wisteria Robe, 15th century. Ink on mica-flecked paper, 6 5/8 x 405 1/4 in. (16.8 x 1029.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift, 81.198 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 81.198_view2_SL4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 81.198_view2_SL4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The second half of a long, illustrated scroll narrating the Tale of the Wisteria Robe. The Tale of the Wisteria Robe (Fuji no koromo monogatari) is by an unknown author. It traces the trials and tribulations of its protagonist, Yamabushi, from the internecine rivalry with his siblings over his father's succession, to his life as a peripatetic mountain ascetic (the literal meaning of Yamabushi), to his reunion with his three children after a lengthy separation. The wisteria robe of the title refers to a fragrant garment associated with Yamabushi that signals his presence in key episodes throughout the narrative and symbolically invokes his true identity as a nobleman despite humble appearance as a wanderer. In this penultimate scene in the scroll, Yamabushi's children mourn upon receiving the news of his death. (Information provided by Melissa McCormick).
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