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Scenes from the life of the Ming Huang Emperor and Yang Guifei (one of a pair with F1901.21)
late 16th-early 17th century

Kano Mitsunobu , (Japanese, ca. 1565-1608)
Momoyama period

Ink, color and gold on paper
H: 173.6 W: 381.8 cm

Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1901.20

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The scenes on these screens are based on a Chinese poem, "Song of Everlasting Sorrow," by Bo Juyi (772-846). The poem, which tells the tragic story of Tang dynasty emperor Ming Huang (Xuanzong) and his love for his concubine Yang Guifei, was known in Japan since the tenth century. The story is told in episodes beginning in the lower right corner of the left screen and moving in a circular, counterclockwise direction. At the top of the left screen, a party is held as the An Lushan rebellion begins; Yang Guifei perished in the uprising. In the upper right of the right screen, the emperor is alone after the uprising ends.

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