A new exhibition featuring exquisite Japanese hand scrolls will be on view at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle this summer. The 17th-century scrolls, which recount one of the most important stories in Japanese classical literature, have recently undergone extensive restoration, generously funded by the Sumitomo Foundation, Tokyo.
The Bamboo Cutter scrolls are believed to be the earliest surviving illustrated version of The tale of the Bamboo Cutter, the oldest Japanese work of prose fiction, written in the early Heian period (9th-10th century). The famous tale is well known for its influence on later literary works such as The Tale of Genji, the 11th-century novel that is among Japan’s greatest contributions to world literature.
Recognised internationally as a masterpiece by a Kano School artist of the early Edo period (1600-1867), the set of two lavish scrolls tell the story of an elderly Bamboo Cutter who found a child of supernatural beauty in a glowing bamboo stalk. He and his wife raise her as their daughter and she becomes a beautiful young woman. They bestow on her the name Nayotake no Kaguya-hime (the Shining Princess of the Supple Bamboo). Destined to return to the moon, Lady Kaguya attempts to discourage her five noble suitors by giving them impossible tasks. All fail, but fail humorously. The emperor of Japan too becomes enamored but Lady Kaguya dons a feather robe and is taken back to the Palace of the Moon.
The Exhibition takes place from:
10am To 5pm (Mon Fri)
For all public events linked to this exhibition, please click here