From a set of five prints based on the 11th century literary classic the Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari), represented here is Chapter 1, Kiritsubo (The Paulownia Pavilion). In this chapter the hero of the tale, Genji, is presented for the first time as a newborn to his father the Emperor, who is seated behind a bamboo curtain on a raised platform at the top of the print. A paulownia tree (kiri) growing in the foreground alludes to the title of the chapter.
All five prints in this set are in the horizontal format and have the series title and print title at the upper right of each design. Clouds with gold-coloured flecks envelop the outer edges of each scene; a device called suyari-gasumi (lit. 'straight haze'), which can be used to obscure unnecessary elements that do not need to be shown, allowing the viewer to focus on the important pictorial elements.
This example is a fine impression, with strong woodgrain showing. For another impression in the collection of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 21.9404, , go to: https://collections.mfa.org/objects/237023