The Tale of Genji.
Early Ferns SAWARABI, Painting.
Heian period, 12th C.
The National Treasure "Illustrated Tale of Genji" is the earliest existing pictorial version of this novel dated to the first half of the 12th century, around the time of the retired emperors Goshirakawa (1053-1129) and Toba (1103-1156).
Today, the Gotoh Museum in Tokyo owns one volume, which previously belonged to the Hachisuka clan, whose leaders were the Lords of Awa prpvince (modern Tokushima Prefecture), and the Tokugawa Art Museum owns three volumes, which were passed down in the Owari Tokugawa clan. These four volumes together make up nineteen pictorial scenes with textual sections, and only one section of explanation.