Monday, April 8, 2019

THE TALE OF GENJI at the Metropolitan Museum: Review By Polly Guerin

The art of storytelling may well have its origins in THE TALE OF GENJI, a rich Japanese epic that one may conclude is the first and most historically romantic literature that captivated readers with spellbinding tales of romance and adventure. 
       Romantic writers today may well find great inspiration for although the stories date back to the early eleventh century, when they were written, they span over 54 chapters with a cast of some 500 characters in exquisitely illustrated and illuminated screens and scrolls. 
     The exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on view through June 16th also brings together more than 120 relics from twelve collections in Japan and the United States inspired by the book. The popular 54-chapter tale was written by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu was a mix of storytelling themes centering on romantic encounters, entertainment, social conjecture and even Buddhist philosophy. 

It was the quintessential romantic story and like women devotees of the romantic novel genre today, the first readers were obsessed with the stories. At the core of the story line are the misadventures of the Emperor's son who, excluded from the line of succession, seeks restitution through romantic encounters with a cast of over 500 female personalities. And, oh
what a tale it was but not just for the elite, Murasaki's classic was available in modern
translations, books, drawings and popular prints distributed to a wide and eager audience.
Colorful episodes pull the reader in with mesmerizing descriptions of the Heian period and introduce beautiful and intriguing female characters. The most fascinating object on view include calligraphy texts and paintings drawn from the Edo period. The works on view reflect the wealth of patrons who commissioned magnificent screens, scrolls as inspiration from the book. Fashion also took a fancy to the Genji stories and produced magnificent gold encrusted silk robes and just in case a reader wanted to fancy herself a heroine in a story she would wear an elaborately embroidered kimono. Even a deck of playing cards printed with characters from the stories might get you in the mood.     
The Story of Genji is a story of serial sensationalism which captivated audiences not only with the romantic aspect of the story but provided details of opulent, privileged lifestyle, definitive descriptions of court life, the fashions they wore, the way they ate, drank an made merry. The screens are delightful to look at and tell individual stories of remarkable imagination.
The exhibition concludes with original drawings by the contemporary manga artist Yamato Waki, from his updated adaptation "Asaki Uume Mishi" a testament to the sagas remarkable legacy.   
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!   I wonder if anyone will take up the gauntlet, so to speak, and try to write
a saga of such monumental proportions today.  Alas, I do hope to hear from you please email  Visit Polly's Blogs at

1 comment:

  1. Hello to everyone out here, I am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me … My name is Susan Christian , I live in London, UK. we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do, i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Emu for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 24 hours my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he Dr Emu casted on him that make him come back to me today, me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Emu for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact Dr Emu ,if you need his help you can contact him through his private mail: or you can contact him through his website fb page Https:// and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.