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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Mansion of the Plates

 
Mansion of the Platesと聞いて北斎による「さらやしき」の浮世絵が思い浮かぶ方は英語で日本美術の知識がある方ですね。Mansion of the Platesという言葉でGoogle画像検索すると一番上に出てきました。Dish mansionとも訳されるようで、Wikipediaはそちらの訳が使われていました。

(wikipedia)
Banchō Sarayashiki or Bancho Sarayashi[citation needed] (番町皿屋敷 The Dish Mansion at Banchō?) is a Japanese ghost story (kaidan) of broken trust and broken promises, leading to a dismal fate.
The story of Okiku and the Nine Plates is one of the most famous in Japanese folklore, and continues to resonate with audiences today.


ボストン美術館で北斎展が開かれていることは以前のエントリーで紹介させていただきましたが、北斎と怪談という観点からのエッセイがNew York Review of Booksにあったので改めて取り上げます。

Some Japanese Ghosts
Christopher Benfey

July 23, 2015, 6:01 p.m.

My parents took me to see Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood when I was six years old. More accurately, they took me to sleep through it, saving no doubt on a babysitter, but I didn’t sleep. For months afterward, I would lie down at bedtime and vainly try not to think of the terrifying white-haired Forest Spirit in her ghostly hut, whispering prophecies at Kurosawa’s Macbeth, in guttural Japanese, from her rickety spinning-wheel of fate.

Japanese ghosts have returned this summer to haunt my dreams, summoned by a striking Hokusai exhibition in Boston, and by other stray events that stirred up spectral associations with the Japanese master’s mesmerizing art. Not least was the arrival in western Massachusetts of a producer from the Criterion Collection, to film an interview with me about the writer and connoisseur of Japan Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), four of whose Japanese ghost stories are the source for Kwaidan (1964), Masaki Kobayashi’s creepily stylized horror film. Of Greek and Irish ancestry, the exoticist Hearn worked in New Orleans and Martinique before settling in Japan in 1890, where he immediately began collecting and adapting ghost stories—a genre in which Japanese folklore and literature are particularly rich—for collections like Kwaidan (1904), published the year he died, a title that Hearn translated as “weird tales.”


冒頭のKurosawa’s Throne of Bloodとは蜘蛛巣城という映画のようです。



このライターがまず指摘するのは細部を見逃さない北斎の写実主義の側面。Woman Looking at Herself in a Mirrorという作品を見ながら幕府御用達鏡磨師であったことの影響を指摘します。

Hokusai is widely admired as some kind of realist, and it’s true that no detail seems to escape his notice. One thinks, in this regard, of Hokusai’s youthful apprenticeship to a polisher of mirrors in the Shogun’s employ. While Hokusai chose instead the riskier profession of artist, his “lifelong fascination with reflections and optical effects of many kinds may well be related,” as MFA curator Sarah E. Thompson points out in the helpful exhibition catalog, “to his early experience with mirrors.”

一方怪談に興味を持っている北斎にも触れています。

But Hokusai was also an inspired painter of ghosts and other phantasms. My favorite is The Mansion of Plates, the image I think Kobayashi was thinking of in Kwaidan. Hokusai’s print is based on a ghost story in which a servant named Okiku accidentally breaks a precious porcelain plate and throws herself in despair down a well, or, in alternative versions, is tossed into the well by her angry master. In Hokusai’s inspired rendition, the ghost of Okiku snakes up out of the well, her long black hair entwined with a serpentine succession of porcelain plates, ghostly counterparts of the broken plate. An exhalation slithers from her lips, as though she—and perhaps the artist himself—is smoking something.

このライターは、以前紹介させてもらったHokusai’s Great Wave: Biography of a Global Iconという本を引き合いに出して、この両面が後世の芸術家たちにも影響を及ぼしていると考えているようです。

I found myself thinking of the influence on later artists of both sides of Hokusai’s temperament—the ways he mirrors every detail of the visual world while also evoking, indelibly, the ghostly dream world—as I read a new book by the scholar Christine Guth. Hokusai’s Great Wave: Biography of a Global Icon documents the remarkable diffusion of Hokusai’s best-known image, from Debussy’s La Mer to Mohamed Kanoo’s Great Wave of Dubai (2012), in which the towering Burj Al Arab Hotel replaces Mount Fuji in the distance. Two other exhibitions that I visited this summer, at the Clark Art Institute across the state in Williamstown, further document Hokusai’s wide influence.

例として日本美術に影響を受けたゴッホやウィスラーを出しているのですが、あの有名なWhistler’s Motherにお菊の面影をみています。

There she sits, in ghostly profile, facing a curtain of indigo-dyed Japanese fabric, perhaps a folded kimono, in a geometric array of frames within frames borrowed from the Japanese prints Whistler so admired. She appears, as admirers noted at the time her portrait was painted, in 1871, to inhabit some mysterious inner world—“on the wing,” as the Symbolist writer Huysmans wrote, “towards a distant dreaminess.” Like the serpentine spirit of Okiku, floating up from the well and trailing her black hair, Whistler’s mother seems another summer visitor from the Japanese world of ghosts.

直前のところでWhistler’s Mother, an image almost as familiar as The Great Waveと書いていたように、有名な絵ですよね。Mr.ビーンでも登場していました。。。



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