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The art of the Ancient Japan at Guimet Museum

Categories : Exhibition, published on : 2/25/24

Until March 25th, the Guimet Museum invites you to an immersive experience at the heart of ancient Japanese culture with the new exhibition titled "At the Court of Prince Genji." This exhibition is the perfect opportunity to celebrate women as it highlights the iconic figure of Murasaki Shikibu, a Japanese poet from the Heian period, and her literary masterpiece, "The Tale of Genji".

Dive into the fascinating world of the Heian period, a period spanning from the 9th to the 12th century in Japan, characterized by an unprecedented cultural flourishing. At the core of this era lies Kyoto, the imperial capital and the nerve center of political, artistic, and intellectual life in the country. It is within this refined context that Murasaki Shikibu penned her magnum opus, "The Tale of Genji", considered one of the first modern novels in world literature history.

The exhibition transports you into the intimacy of the imperial court of Heian-kyō, the ancient Kyoto, where the captivating plot of "The Tale of Genji" unfolds. You will discover the adventures of Prince Hikaru Genji, a charismatic and complex character, through his romantic and political relationships within the high society of the time. Murasaki Shikibu, herself a court lady, draws from her experience and meticulous observation of court life to weave a narrative tapestry of unparalleled richness.

But the impact of "The Tale of Genji" extends beyond literature. Over the centuries, this work has shaped the collective imagination of Japan and inspired numerous forms of traditional art. From paintings to sculptures to the art of the kimono, the themes and motifs of the novel have permeated Japanese visual culture and continue to resonate today.

The exhibition also highlights the remarkable work of Itarô Tamaguchi, a master weaver from Kyoto, who dedicated part of his life to creating four scrolls illustrating the iconic scenes of "The Tale of Genji." These scrolls, true jewels of Japanese craftsmanship, offer a striking visual interpretation of the literary work and attest to Tamaguchi's virtuosity in the art of weaving.

By exploring this immersive exhibition, you will have the unique opportunity to delve into the history and culture of ancient Japan, to immerse yourself in the grace and elegance of the Heian period, while discovering the timeless work of Murasaki Shikibu and its enduring influence on Japanese art and literature.

Don't miss this exceptional opportunity to travel through time and space to uncover the hidden treasures of the Heian period and to celebrate the creative genius of Murasaki Shikibu and Itarô Tamaguchi.

Until March 25th, 2024, open every day except Tuesday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Photo ©Library of Congress - Unsplash