Miotsukushi 澪標
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A pictorial subject based on Chapter 14, "Channel Buoys" Miotsukushi of GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji). In this chapter, the Emperor Suzaku 朱雀, Genji's half-brother, abdicates in favour of Fujitsubo's 藤壷 son, now called the Emperor Reizei 冷泉, whose father is actually Genji. The *Akashi 明石 Lady gives birth to a baby girl who will eventually become Empress Akashi Akashi no Chuuguu 明石中宮. In the autumn Genji makes a grand procession to Sumiyoshi Taisha 住吉大社 to give thanks for being restored at court. Unaware of this, the Akashi Lady also goes to Sumiyoshi on pilgrimage, but once there she is made painfully aware of the difference between her and Genji's social status and thus she withdraws without giving him any notice of her presence. When he learns she is in the area they exchange poems built on the common pivot-word, kakekotoba 掛詞, miotsukushi which is both the name of a kind of marker used to indicate the waterway for boats, and can also be read as mi wo tsukushitemo 身を尽くしても (even at the cost of my life). Scenes of Genji at the shrine and the Akashi Lady's boat in the background are frequently depicted. The chapter ends with the death of the Rokujou 六条 Lady and her entrusting her daughter, Akikonomu 秋好, to Genji's care.

*genji-e 源氏絵 

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