Sawarabi 早蕨
KEY WORD :  art history / paintings
A pictorial subject based on the "Early Ferns" Sawarabi, Chapter 48 of GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji). In this chapter, Prince Niou *Niou no Miya 匂宮 moves his new love, Naka no kimi 中君, from Uji 宇治 to his Nijou 二条 mansion in the capital. Kaoru 薫, having lost Ooigimi 大君 (see *Agemaki 総角), finds himself falling in love with her younger sister Naka no kimi, whose affair with Niou he himself arranged. The most frequently chosen episode for illustration is that which gives the chapter its title: towards the end of the First Month the abbot of Uji, Yama no Ajari 山の阿闍利 sends a basket of fern shoots to Naka no kimi accompanied by a poem. The scene of Naka no kimi and her servant woman preparing for the move to the Nijou mansion survives in a section of the earliest illustrated version, the 12c masterpiece in the Tokugawa 徳川 Art Museum, Aichi prefecture.

*genji-e 源氏絵 

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