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The Floating Bridge of Dreams, Chapter 54

Kunisada I (Toyokuni III), 1853, Wood cut
of 171
The Floating Bridge of Dreams, Chapter 54
The Floating Bridge of Dreams, Chapter 54
The Floating Bridge of Dreams, Chapter 54
The Floating Bridge of Dreams, Chapter 54
Library Item
16250
The Floating Bridge of Dreams, Chapter 54 (Yume no Ukihashi) from the series "A Modern Collection of Genji in Colour Prints" ("Ima Genji nishiki-e awase")
Prince Mitsuuji (Genji) is depicted slumbering on a floor mattress and cushions. In the dream that hovers in a cloud above his head, one can see Mitsuuji in the company of a young woman enjoying a punt on the river in a boat with a phoenix-headed prow. On the floor in front of Mitsuuji's mattress is a picture of the Seven Lucky Gods (shichifukujin) sailing in the Treasure Ship (takarabune). This image was popular during the New Year/ Spring Festival and it was believed that if a person slept with a picture like this under their pillow on the first night of the New Year it would bring them luck. Mitsuuji's dream provides the viewer with a witty comparison (mitate) to this traditional picture of the Seven Lucky Gods. In Mitsuuji's dream boat are items associated with the gods. Bishamonten's green hat is clearly visible and the woman may represent Benzaiten, the only female god amongst the seven.
Mitsuuji's hair has been styled in his lobster tail topknot fastened with purple cord. His underkimono is white with a purple and blue grey border. The outerkimono is a purple fabric decorated with a phoenix pattern, and pleated red fabric forms a ruff around his neck.
Behind Mitsuuji stands a folding screen decorated with a pine, bamboo and plum (shochikubai) motif. This combination of plants was known as the gentleman-scholar's 'winter friends'. A sword sheaved in a black and gold lacquer case rests in a vertical sword stand in front of the screen. To Mitsuuji's left, upon the floor, are a number of serving dishes containing food. The pine, bamboo and plum motif, and the use of a branch of pine to ornament the food, are indications of the festive time of year. One of these containers bears a Genji-mon; a linear design made from incense sticks which refers to a particular chapter from Murasaki Shikibu's 'Tale of Genji'.

This image derives from the serial novel, 'A Fake Murasaki and a Rustic Genji' written by Ryutei Tanehiko and illustrated by Utagawa Kunisada.
Kunisada I (Toyokuni III)
1853
27.9 x 19.8 cm
Art and Design Library
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