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Title

Cans decorated with scenes of chapters 'Young Murasaki' and 'Beneath the autumn leaves' from 'The Tale of Genji' on blue carpet

2011

Artist

Yamamoto Tarō

Japan

1974 -

Alternate image of Cans decorated with scenes of chapters 'Young Murasaki' and 'Beneath the autumn leaves' from 'The Tale of Genji' on blue carpet by Yamamoto Tarō
Alternate image of Cans decorated with scenes of chapters 'Young Murasaki' and 'Beneath the autumn leaves' from 'The Tale of Genji' on blue carpet by Yamamoto Tarō
  • Details

    Other Title
    Can on blue carpet decorated with scenes of 'Wakamurasaki' and' Party by coloured leave's from the Tale of Genji
    Place where the work was made
    Japan
    Date
    2011
    Media category
    Painting
    Materials used
    Japanese mineral pigment, gold and silver leaf on paper
    Dimensions
    31.8 x 40.9 cm image; 41.2 x 50.9 x 4.2 cm frame
    Credit
    Gift by Volunteer Guides, Associate Guides and Community Ambassadors AGNSW 2012
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    356.2012
    Copyright
    © Taro Yamamoto. Image courtesy of Imura Art Gallery, Japan

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    Artist information
    Yamamoto Tarō

    Works in the collection

    2

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  • About

    A graduate of the renowned Kyoto University of Arts and Design (Kyoto Zokei Geijutsu Daigaku), Tarō Yamamoto has gained acknowledgement for his witty and imaginative approach to Japanese paintings since the beginning of the 21st century.

    Reflecting on the fact that major Japanese beer makers employed traditional East Asian motifs such as the mythological animal Kirin or the God of Fortune, Ebisu, as emblems for a beverage that was imported to Japan from the West, Yamamoto suggests to employ illustrations from the 10th century novel 'The Tale of Genji', arguably the epitome of classical Japanese culture, as decoration for the popular drink.

    The can on the right is decorated with an image illustrating chapter 5 (‘Young Murasaki’) of the Tale, an episode that took place in Spring at the time of the cherry blossom. The image on the left can illustrates an episode of chapter 7 (‘Beneath the Autumn leaves’), in which Genji performed a dance at a party to celebrate the autumn leaves.

    Yamamoto appropriates the standard iconography for illustrations of the 'Tale of Genji' as established by artists of the Tosa school, which was patronised by and catered to the court aristocracy, to embellish the disposable containers of the ‘seasonal beer’, a recent marketing strategy of Japanese beer makers.

    The two richly decorated cans are placed against a background made of two blocks of solid colour. The gold in the upper half mimics the golden screens depicting scenes of classical literature. The brilliant blue in the lower half, on the other hand, represents the plastic blue sheets often used by contemporary Japanese as 'picnic rugs'. ‘High’ and ‘popular’ culture, traditional and contemporary Japan, East and West coexist thus harmoniously in the limited space of this painting, mirroring the hybrid state of contemporary Japan’s society and culture.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, October 2012

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Japan

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Jill Sykes, Look, 'High Art and Popular Culture to make you smile', Sydney, Mar 2013, 13(colour illus.).

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