Suzumushi 鈴虫
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A pictorial subject taken from "The Bell Cricket," Chapter 38 of GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji). Suzumushi means a bell cricket (Homoeogryllus japonicus), though in the Heian period the same term was used for what today is called a pine cricket matsumushi 松虫 (Xenogryllus marmorata). The three main episodes from this chapter which are chosen for illustration are: (1) the dedication of holy images of the chapel by the Third Princess Onna sannomiya 女三宮, Genji's wife and the mother of Kaoru 薫, by the late *Kashiwagi 柏木; (2) an informal concert by Genji and his courtier friends at the princess's quarters on the evening of the harvest full moon (fifteenth night or juugoya 十五夜 of the Eighth Month), where the songs of different insects, including bell crickets, are discussed; and (3) later in the same night, another concert at the residence of the retired Emperor Reizei 冷泉, who in fact is Genji's own unacknowledged son (see *Momijinoga 紅葉賀), who now knows the truth of his paternity. Two scenes from this chapter are found among the paintings of the early 12c masterpiece owned by the Gotou 五島 Museum, Tokyo. In the first of these the Third Princess is shown with her maid at the water basin on the porch jutting into the autumn garden while the hem of Genji's robe is visible at the left. The second shows the conversation between Reizei and Genji during the informal concert at the retired emperor's residence.

*genji-e 源氏絵 

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