Saturday, September 06, 2008

I can breathe

a sigh of relief—Early Ferns ( a few posts below) finishes off my Genji Monogatari sequence/series.

So, as a kind of endpiece, I've posted an o-ban below, ukiyo-e, but falling into the category of what are known as shunga, wood-block porn. It's attributed to Hiroshige, even though it bears no signature. & it's not a picture of Genji, even though, if you translate the rather circumspect allusions throughout the book, he was quite sexually active.

The association with Genji comes through the crests—Genji mon—the geometrical patterns that are included in the border that surrounds the two blocks. Though now associated with the 54 chapters of Genji Monogatari, each with its own emblem, there were originally only 25 & they were used in conjunction with a guess-the-incense game, the precursor of Kodo, the incense ceremony.

There is a chapter in Genji—A Branch of Plum—that is about an incense game; & it was this chapter that prompted someone to align the crests with the book & extend their number.


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