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Three well-known women from different periods in Japan’s history are depicted together here. Empress Kōmyō was the wife of Emperor Shōmu (701–756), during whose reign the great Buddha of the Tōdaiji was consecrated. Princess Sotōri, who lived during the reign of Emperor Ingyō in the 5th century, was said to be so beautiful that her beauty radiated through her clothes. (Sotōri means “passing through robes.”) Michitsuna’s Mother’s personal name is unknown. She lived in the 10th century and is well known as the author of the Kagerō nikki. In her time she was as famous for her beauty as for her poetry.
Purchased for the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1931.