ise monogatari-e 伊勢物語絵
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Illustrations, decorative motifs or other work of art connected with ISE MONOGATARI 伊勢物語 (The Tales of Ise). Together with GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji; see *genji-e 源氏絵), the Tales of Ise have been a popular pictorial subject throughout the history of Japanese painting. The Tales of Ise is an anonymous work that reached final completion in the mid 10c. It consists of many poems and episodes which explain the circumstances in which the poems were written. While the majority of verses are anonymous, the famous 9c poet Ariwara no Narihira 在原業平 (825-80), one of the Six Poetic Geniuses *Rokkasen 六歌仙, figures prominently in the Tales, so they can be read in part as his fictional biography. Consequently, alternate titles for this work were ZAIGO GA MONOGATARI 在五物語 (The Tales of Ariwara of the Fifth Rank) and ZAIGO CHUUJOU NO NIKKI 在五中将日記 (The Diary of the Middle Captain Ariwara of the Fifth Rank). Several theories explaining the present title have been advanced, but all are conjectural. No version of this work at all close to the original form survives. The standard and most widely known version was edited and copied by Fujiwara no Teika 藤原定家 (also read Sadaie, 1162-1241) , and it contains 125 chapters and 209 poems. The first references to illustrations of the Tales of Ise are found in The Tale of Genji, dating from the early 11c. It recounts that a handscroll *emaki 絵巻 of The Tales of Ise is presented in a poetry contest (Chapter 17, *E-awase 絵合) and that a painting of ZAIGO (Ariwara the fifth rank) is shown to a princess (Chapter 47, *Agemaki 総角). There are no extant versions of Ise monogatari-e dating from the Heian period, however, the earliest is the mid-13c handscroll of The Tales of Ise in the *hakubyou 白描 style (Hakubyou Ise monogatari emaki 白描伊勢物語絵巻; 19 fragments of painting survive in the various collections). It is difficult to discern the painting and text because woodblocks of Sanskrit Dharani have been superimposed all over the work. This version appears to be an amateur production, perhaps a copy of an earlier work. The text is different from the standard Teika version, probably reflecting the earlier version. A decorative polychrome style in the *tsukuri-e 作り絵 technique can be seen in the next oldest work, (The Kubo Version of The Tales of Ise Kubokebon Ise monogatari emaki 久保家本伊勢物語絵巻 (The Kubo Version of The Tales of Ise; early 14c, Kubo Sou 久保惣 Memorial Museum, Osaka). Only seven fragments of painting and two texts survive, making it difficult to judge the lineage of the text. (The Variant Version of The Tales of Ise) Ihon Ise monogatari emaki 異本伊勢物語絵巻 (The Variant Version of The Tales of Ise; also from the early 14c), is preserved today only in a 19c copy by Kanou Osanobu 狩野養信 (1796-1848) in the Tokyo National Museum. So called because the text is very different from the standard Teika version. Like genji-e, the production of Ise monogatari-e became more systematized due to a great demand in the Muromachi period. While the *yamato-e やまと絵 syle continued, the naive style of *nara-ehon 奈良絵本 made their appearance, showing some distinct departures from what is assumed to be the canonical iconography. Their text is based on the Teika version. In 1608 the first printed edition of the Tales of Ise, Sagabon 嵯峨本 (the Saga Edition), appeared, supervised by Honnami Kouetsu 本阿弥光悦 (1558-1637), which had a great influence on the standardization of the iconography. Some of the finest works of the Tales in the Edo period were by the *Rinpa 琳派 artists, who used similar motifs and compositions repeatedly in various formats of painting. The dissemination of popular picture books and printed editions led to motifs from the Tales being used in all kinds of applied art, such as lacquerware and fabrics. By far the most popular episodes chosen for pictorialization come from Episode Nine, *Azumakudari 東下り (Narihira's Journey to the Eastern Wilderness), containing the scenes known as *Yatsuhashi 八橋, *Tsuta-no-hosomichi 蔦の細道, *Utsu-no-yama 宇津の山, and *Sumidagawa 隅田川.

*Akutagawa 芥川, *Musashino 武蔵野, *Izutsu 井筒, *Azusayumi 梓弓, *Misogi 禊, *Nunobiki-no-taki 布引滝.

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