boat cast adrift

                                                                      A Boat Cast Adrift,
(Ukifune),  Sata Yoshirō, 1966
Without a word, he took Ukifune up in his arms and carried her off. Jijū followed after and Ukon was left to watch the house. Soon they were aboard one of the boats that had seemed so fragile out on the river.
As they rowed into the stream, she clung to Niou, frightened as an exile to some hopelessly distant shore. He was delighted. The moon in the early-morning sky shone cloudless upon the waters. They were at the Islet of the Oranges said the boatman, pulling up at a large rock over which ever-greens trailed long branches.

"See," said Niou, "they are fragile pines, no more, but their green is so rich and deep that it lasts a thousand years.

"A thousand years may pass, it will not waver,
This vow I make in the lee of the Islet of Oranges."

What a very strange place to be, thought the girl.

"The colors remain, here on the Islet of Oranges.
But where go I, a boat upon the waters?"

The time was right, and so was the girl, and so was her poem: for him, at least, things could not have been more pleasingly arranged.

                                                                                          -Chapter 51
, "The Tale of Genji"

Sata Yoshirō’s long engagement with copying sections of the National Treasure Genji Scrolls no doubt inspired him to create this screen of Chapter 51, “A Boat Cast Adrift.” The most common depiction of this episode, established by the seventeenth century, shows Ukifune and Niou in a boat on the Uji River, near a small island  in the snow. Sata eliminates the landscape details and focuses on the couple drifting with the current under the reflection of the moon. The Uji River is shown in white, its current captured with ink lines, and the figures glow under the golden moonlight. Close examination of Ukifune’s striking long hair reveals the subtle yet effective accents of ultramarine mineral pigment in the black ink.;   -The Met



This 1890 print from a series of twelve prints titled Twelve Months of the Floating World, said to be Ogata's first complete series of prints, depicts a more traditional scene.



A painting made by the Japanese artist Utagawa Toyoharu (1735-1814). Utagawa Toyoharu was specialized in contemporary scenes of Edo (the former name of Tokyo). This piece shows a party of two men and three women entertaining themselves. The entertainers on the left and right are holding a shamisen, a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument). The man on the right gives a red lacquer cup with sake (rice wine) to the entertainer on his right. Before him is a red lacquer tray holding a black lacquer soup cup with cover and pair of chopsticks probably made of ivory. Beside the tray is his tobacco pouch with the attached netsuke (toggle) which would suspend it from his sash. the man on the left is holding his red lacquer sake cup as he gazes transfixed at the young shamisen player who tunes her instrument. In the foreground are a red lacquer stand and a tray holding lacquer and ceramic dishes and containers of food. Behind the young man is a charcoal brazier holding an iron cooking pot. Painting from the 18th-19th century.