Rendition of Chapter 37 of the <i>Nise Murasaki inaka Genji</i> (偐紫田舎源氏)
Rendition of Chapter 37 of the <i>Nise Murasaki inaka Genji</i> (偐紫田舎源氏)

Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)

Rendition of Chapter 37 of the Nise Murasaki inaka Genji (偐紫田舎源氏)


ca 1851 – 1853
30 in x 14 in (Overall dimensions) color woodblock print; ōban triptych

Signed: Ichiyōsai Toyokuni ga - right and left panels
Kōchōrō Toyokuni ga - center panel
Publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi
(Marks 595 - seal 02-026)
Censors: Mera and Watanabe
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Waseda University
Lyon Collection - Kunihiro - note the wooden doors with the black metal hardware
Lyon Collection - another Rustic Genji triptych by Toyokuni III with a similar interior

Ōsōji means 'spring cleaning', but it also is the name for process/ceremony that was practiced in every Japanese household the day before the new year. Perhaps that is what is being portrayed here.


There are a number of features of this triptych which are quite striking. However, the most remarkable element may well be the genji-mon decorated wall which has the look of Westernized wallpaper.

There is another edition of this composition with a fairly dark purple-gray background instead of the eye-catching pink of this example. The one with the purple-gray background was shown in a Stiftelsen 3, 14 International Contemporary Art Foundation in Bergen, Norway in 2005.


There is a curious point of interest between the right panel of this triptych from the 1830s and another print in the Lyon Collection, #566, by Kunihiro from ca. 1823. It is the wooden doors with the black metal hardware. See the link above to make your own comparison.

ca 1841 illustration from Nise Murasaki Genji


This triptych is listed but not illustrated in Andreas Marks Genji's World at #G191.


There is another copy of this triptych in the Latvian Museum of Foreign Art. In that copy the coloring of the background wall is bluish-purple and not pink as in the case of this example in the Lyon Collection.

Yamamotoya Heikichi (山本屋平吉) (publisher)
Genji related prints (Genji-e - 源氏絵) (genre)