Tale of Bunsho, the Saltmaker, vol. 3-detail
Chujo secretly visits the first daughter, Renge, in her quarters in the evening.

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 3 detail
When Chujo and his attendants go to Kashima Shrine, they cannot help but start to play the instruments they find—Chujo the biwa (lute) and the others play the sho (upright wind instrument), yokobue (bamboo flute) and koto (zither).

Volume 3
The daughters were given an inkstone and box which contained a poem, expressing Chujo's feelings of love. This gift Renge took as her own and Hachisu was given a different beautiful present. Bunshō then sent the men to Kashima Shrine whereupon they saw instruments and could not help but pick up and begin to play them. Word got back to Bunshō and the daughters about the beautiful music coming from the shrine.

When they got to the shrine to listen to the music, a playful wind lifted the screen between the women and the men playing the instruments. Renge and Chujo were finally able to get a glimpse of each other. Renge, already impressed with the wonderful inkstone and poem takes an immediate liking of Chujo and his feelings are stronger than ever. They end up spending the night together and when Chujo's identity is fully revealed, he takes her with him to the capital as his bride. Eventually Bunshō , his wife, and Hachisu also get invited to live permanently in the capital. Bunshō receives a promotion and Hachisu marries the emperor.

Tale of Bunsho, the Saltmaker detail
Chujo with his identity fully revealed, returns to the capital with Renge and a retinue of servants.


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.

site last updated
October 28, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475