Two chapters from The Tale of Genji, Lady Murasaki's eleventh-century novel, are dramatized on these bold and decorative screens. Both scenes revolve around the theme of men spying on women, a custom that was all too frequent in the closed world of the Heian-period court, where men and women were kept separated by shutters, blinds, and curtains as well as by etiquette. In the spring scene courtiers are playing the stately game of "football" called kemari beneath blossoming cherry trees, an episode from Chapter 34, "New Herbs I". When the Third Princess's cat unexpectedly runs out onto the veranda, her bamboo blind is pulled aside allowing Yugiri and Kashiwagi a rare glimpse of the beautiful princess standing just inside. The text describes her as wearing a cloak of white figured satin lined with red.
The autumn scene is taken from Chapter 28, "The Typhoon". Here Yugiri spies on the women in Akikonomu's quarters. Some little girls have been sent down into the garden to lay out insect cages.