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Practicing Penmanship (chapter 53) from the album Illustrations for Genji monogatari in Fifty-Four Wood-Cut Prints

Ebina Masao (1913-1980)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Practicing Penmanship (chapter 53)

from the album

Illustrations for Genji monogatari

in Fifty-Four Wood-Cut Prints

by Ebina Masao, c. 1953

Ebina Masao (1913-1980)

IHL Cat. #2521

About This Print

In chapter 53, Practicing Penmanship, Ukifune is found alive by disciples of the bishop of Yokawa. Ukifune has no memory of the time before being stopped from committing suicide and her being found. Though she is taken in by the bishop's nuns who treat her kindly, she remains forlorn.

Source:  Genji gojūshijō 源氏五十四帖, published by Shin Kōbe Shinbunsha, 1974.
On moonlit nights the bishop's sister would sometimes take out a koto and a nun called Shosho would join in with a lute...

As she [Ukifune] watched these elderly people beguiling the tedium with music, she thought of her own lot. Never from the outset had she been among those privileged to seek consolation in quiet, tasteful pleasures; and so she had grown to womanhood with not a single accomplishment to boast of. Her stars had not been kind to her. She took up a brush and, by way of writing practice, set down a poem:

"Into a torrent of tears I flung myself,
And who put up the sluice that held me back?"

It had been cruel of them to save her. The future filled her with dread.

This collection's print maintains its original explanation overlay (shown below) and matting.

Explanation Overlay for IHL Cat. #2521
click on image to enlarge

For an excellent introduction to The Tale of Genji see Penguin's "Short Summary of the Tale" at https://www.penguin.com/static/packages/us/taleofgenji/introduction3.php

About The Album

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2520
 Title or Description
Practicing Penmanship 手習 Tenarai
variously translated as Writing-Practice, The Writing Practice, Practicing Calligraphy, Practice with the Brush
 Series Illustrations for Genji monogatari in Fifty-Four Wood-Cut Prints
 木版画源氏五十四帖  Mokuhanga Genji gojūyonjō
 Ebina Masao (1913-1980)
 not signed
 Seal正夫 Masao
 Publication Date 1953 or after (originally issued 1953; multiple editions are known)
 Publisher Yamada Shoin 山田書院
 Carver carving supervised by Yoshio Kawamo [Kawatsura Yoshio 川面義雄 (1880-1963)]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre genji-e
 Format ōban
 H x W Paper (with mat and overlay): 10 3/16 x 13 3/4 in. (25.9 x 34.9 cm)
 (print only): 9 3/16 x 12 11/16 in. (23.5 x 32.5 cm)
 H x W Image 8 3/16 x 11 7/8 (20.8 x 30.2 cm)
 Collections This Print Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College 2009.1.16; University of Kansas Libraries KU Bib ID: 4123242 (entire portfolio; images not shown); National Diet Library Call Number 913.36-E17g-K (entire portfolio dated 1958; images not shown)
 Reference Literature 
latest revision:
6/22/2021 created