photographed: 12/10/2020
photographed: 12/10/2020

Genji Observes Maidservants Pulling Pine Shoots

Kano Korenobu (Japanese, 1753 – 1808)
circa 1800
Ink, color, gold on paper
Work : 38 5/16 in. x 9 ft. 8 13/16 in. (97.31 cm x 3 m)
Credit Line
Hope College Collection
Object Number

This screen depicts a scene from the famous 11th century novel The Tale of Genji in which an aristocratic gentleman watches young women pick pine saplings as part of the lunar New Year komatsuhiki festival. The festival signifies a readiness for the New Year because pine trees are symbols of winter in Japanese culture and pulling them up symbolically makes way for the flowers and crops of spring. Japanese screens were traditionally used as room dividers to create more comfortable spaces for specific occasions. Because the Japanese usually sat on the floor, the screens were sometimes only three to four feet high. They were often decorated with imagery
appropriate to specific seasons and were changed on a regular basis.

Object Type
Academic Themes
Literary Connections