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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: Screen painting of a poet with the full moon and snowy plums
Date: commissioned for a New Year, ca. 1819–1820
Medium: Color woodblock print
Dimensions: 8 7/16 x 7 7/16 inches (21.4 x 18.9 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Joanna Haab Schoff, Class of 1955
Object Number: 2011.017.014
Label Text: Ume ga ka to The scent of the plum blossoms
Tsuki no kaori no And fragrance of the plum
Nakazora ni Combine in mid-air
Majieru iro ya In the color
Kasumu murasaki Of misting purple
—Shōzanrō Shigemi


Hisakata no The fragrance of the
Tsuki no kaori mo Everlasting moon
Ume ga ka mo And the scent of the plum
Mushiro hedatenu Not so different
Haru no utabito For the poet in springtime
—Seikaitei Kamendo


The identification of the poet depicted has not been absolutely determined. One possibility is that he represents Prince Genji in exile in Suma, wistfully looking at the moon over the sea. There are multiple poems in the Tale of Genji concerning the moon and longing for home, while the mention of murasaki in the first verse hints at both the author of the Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu, and the character Murasaki, for whom Genji most longs in these chapters. (“Moon," curated by Ellen Avril and presented at the Johnson Museum August 25, 2018-January 13, 2019)




NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.