Tale of Bunsho, the Saltmaker, volume 2 detail
Lord Chujo and his attendants disguised as merchants from the capital, encounter a prophet during their journey to Hitachi.

attributed to Tosa Mitsuoki, (1617-1691)

The Tale of Bunshō, the Saltmaker
(Bunshō Zoshi) with calligraphy by
Mushanokōji Sanekage (1661-1738)

volume I: 12 7/8 by 560 5/8 in.; 32.8 by 1424 cm
volume II: 12 7/8 by 508 5/8 in.; 32.8 by 1292 cm
volume III: 12 7/8 by 506 3/4 in.; 32.8 by 1287 cm


Tale of Bunsho, volume 2 detail

The story written in beautiful calligraphy follows an exquisite and suggestive moonlit landscape.

Volume 2
Bunshō was overjoyed at Daiguji's offer but the daughters were unhappy and vowed to become nuns which convinces Bunshō to accept their stubborn refusals. When Michishige, the governor of Hitachi, learns about the daughters, he approaches Daiguji with a proposition as he wanted a beautiful wife for himself. He extends Daiguji the governorship if he can marry a daughter and in turn, Daiguji approaches Bunshō that if all is successful there will be a promotion for him as well. However, the daughters refuse this offer saying they would rather throw themselves to the sea than marry the governor. Disappointed, Michishige heads home.

When attending a gathering of governors, Michishige tells Lord Chujo, the son of the emperor's regent, about the beautiful women. Lord Chujo falls in love immediately upon hearing about them and eventually becomes sick, longing and thinking about the daughters. Soon, Chujo and three attendants disguised as merchants, decide to make the journey to Hitachi to meet Renge and Hachisu. Along the way, they encounter a prophet who gives them a blessing while the aristocrats, unaccustomed to long journeys, take a rest to tend to their aching feet.

They finally reach Hitachi and upon paying respects at Kashima Shrine, make their way to Bunshō's residence. They are welcomed as merchants from the capital, wash their feet and receive meals. A servant found it curious that one of the merchants had his feet washed by another, and also noticed how the same one ate his food off the tray while the others moved the food off the tray onto the floor. Sake was served and after several cups, Bunshō told the men about his beautiful daughters' refusal to marry.

Bunsho, the Saltmaker, volume 2 detail
Bunshō's servants find it curious that one of the merchants (Lord Chujo) is eating from the tray while his companions have removed the food off of their tray.


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site last updated
October 28, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
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