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At the Court of Prince Genji exhibition at Guimet Museum

At the Court of Prince Genji exhibition at Guimet Museum

For this month of March, on the occasion of International Women's Day, we recommend visiting the new exhibition at the Guimet Museum. "At the Court of Prince Genji" highlights the Japanese poet Murasaki Shikibu and her novel "The Tale of Genji," which has inspired centuries of iconography.

The exhibition "At the Court of Prince Genji" immerses you in ancient Japan, exploring the Heian period, particularly rich in artistic production and female literary creation. The Heian period, spanning from the 9th to the 12th century, is considered a time of great cultural flourishing in Japan, where the imperial court of Kyoto was the center of political, artistic, and intellectual life in the country.

"The Tale of Genji," known in Japanese as Genji Monogatari, is the most iconic literary work in Japanese classical literature. Composed in the early 11th century by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting of the Heian period, this novel is considered one of the first modern novels in world literature history. It tells the story of Prince Hikaru Genji and his numerous romantic and political adventures at the imperial court of Heian-kyō, the ancient Kyoto.

This iconic novel has profoundly influenced Japanese culture, becoming a source of inspiration for many traditional art forms, such as painting, sculpture, and kimono art. The elegance and subtlety of Murasaki Shikibu's descriptions in "The Tale of Genji" also influenced fashion and the cultural life of the time.

Contemporary artistic expressions, such as manga, represent a reinterpretation of the codes and themes of Japanese culture. The latter sees in "The Tale of Genji" a foundational novel.

The second part of the exhibition honors Itarô Tamaguchi, a master weaver from Kyoto, who created four scrolls illustrating this essential novel for the Japanese. For Tamaguchi, these scrolls are a true culmination of a life dedicated to weaving. For the first time, you will be able to admire these four exceptional scrolls in their entirety.

In summary, this exhibition offers a unique opportunity to delve into the history and culture of ancient Japan, highlighting two major artistic figures of the Heian period and their lasting impact on Japanese art and literature.

Photo ©Library Of Congress - Unsplash

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