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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Hanging scroll

Hanging scroll

ca. 1670

Kiyohara Yukinobu

Japanese, 1643 - 1682

Ukifune, or “floating boat,” is the title of Chapter 51 of the Tale of Genji and the name of a central character in the last part of the tale. Ukifune, who was loved by both Kaoru and Prince Niou, had been agonizing over the indecision of the situation. To release herself from the triangular love affair, she eventually attempted suicide by throwing herself into the Uji River but was unsuccessful. Having been rescued, she became a nun and secluded herself in Ono, at the western foot of Mount Hiei. This scene is a well-depicted moment in which Niou absconds with Ukifune to the Islet of Oranges. The painter, Kiyohara Yukinobu, is one of the few known woman artists in the 17th century.
Ink and color on silk
Image: 13 15/16 × 22 13/16 in. (35.4 × 57.9 cm)
Overall: 51 × 28 1/2 in. (129.5 × 72.4 cm)
Gift of Frank D. Stout
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, "Legends, Tales, Poetry: Visual Narrative in Japanese Art," Dec. 22, 2012 - Jul. 21, 2013

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Talents and Beauties: Art of Women in Japan," Nov. 4, 2017 - Jul. 15, 2018

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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