Kashiwagi 柏木
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A pictorial subject taken from "The Oak Tree" Kashiwagi, a type of oak, Quercus deutata, Chapter 36 of GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji). Suffering remorse over his affair with Genji's wife, the Third Princess Onna San no Miya 女三宮, Kashiwagi, son of Tou no Chuujou 頭中将 (see *Wakana 若菜), declines into terminal illness. The princess gives birth to Kashiwagi's son Kaoru 薫, and eventually becomes a nun. Kashiwagi dies after telling some of the truth to his friend and Genji's son *Yuugiri 夕霧. Kashiwagi asks Yuugiri to look after his official wife Princess Ochiba, Ochiba no Miya 落葉宮 (also known as the Second Princess). Scenes frequently chosen for illustration include: (1) Kashiwagi, in a white robe on his sick bed, reading a brief letter from the Third Princess. In a different room, his father and an ascetic confer about his condition; (2) the retired Emperor Suzaku 朱雀, now a monk, visits his distraught daughter, the Third Princess, after she has given birth to Kashiwagi's son, thought by the world to be Genji's. The princess pleads to be allowed to become a nun; (3) Genji (for the world to see) holding his "son" Kaoru in his arms; 4 Yuugiri visiting Kashiwagi's mother and official widow, Princess Ochiba, at her Ichijou 一条 mansion, while the cherry trees are in bloom. Scenes (1)(2) and (3) from this chapter survive in the earliest illustrated version, the 12c masterpiece, preserved in the Tokugawa 徳川 Art Museum.

*genji-e 源氏絵 

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