Asagao 朝顔
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A pictorial subject based on "The Morning Glory" Asagao, Chapter 20 of GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji). Asagao literally means "morning face," and seems to have been applied originally to a number of morning-blooming flowers, not just the morning glory. It is also the sobriquet given in this chapter to one of Genji's cousins, whom Genji unsuccessfully pursued for years. In the chapter, Asagao's father dies and she retires from her position as High Priestess of Kamo Jinja 賀茂神社. Genji sends her a poem, attached to an asagao, but she rebuffs him again. Often depicted is the scene of Genji looking over a garden on an autumn morning, as a young page picks a morning glory. The scene most popularly depicted comes from the end of the chapter, when Genji and Murasaki (Murasaki no Ue 紫の上) are looking out from the veranda at a group of young girls who enthusiastically play around an enormous snowball in the garden.

*genji-e 源氏絵

(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.