The Tale of Genji: A Visual Companion by Melissa McCormick - review by Lesley Downer

Lesley Downer

Album Notes

The Tale of Genji: A Visual Companion


Princeton University Press 253pp £35 order from our bookshop

In 1510 a wealthy Japanese man called Sue (pronounced Sué) Saburō took possession of a magnificent album of paintings and calligraphy illustrating The Tale of Genji. He had commissioned it for his father, Sue Hiroaki, then governor of the province of Hyōgo (now Kobe) and a famous scholar. A few years later Hiroaki had the album leaves pasted onto screens to be used as a backdrop for a series of lectures on The Tale. The album ended up at Harvard Art Museums.

Melissa McCormick, professor of Japanese art and culture at Harvard University, recently dated the making of the album to 1509 and identified its patron. She has now put together this beautiful book, which reproduces the whole album page by page while also providing a detailed and very illuminating

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