Ariwara no Narihira

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 1

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At A Glance

  • Period

    late 17th-early 18th century
  • Geography

  • Material

    Ink and color on silk, ivory jiku
  • Dimension

    H x W (image): 90.6 x 32.5 cm (35 11/16 x 12 13/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Artist

    Sumiyoshi Gukei 住吉具慶 (1631-1705)
  • Description

    This painting depicts the events recounted in the fourth chapter of The Tales of Ise, the famed tenth century collection of lyric episodes. An unnamed gentleman, whom tradition has held to be the poet Ariwara no Narihira, falls deeply in love with a woman who has temporary quarters with the former empress living in the eastern Fifth ward of Kyoto. After several encounters, she leaves without explanation or notificaion. The gentleman is despondant. Over the years he attempts to console himself by visiting the site of their assignation each year in the first month at the blooming of the plum trees. His poem, inscribed at the top of the painting has been translated: Is not the moon the same? / The spring / The spring of old?/ Only this body of mine/Is the same body... / Helen Craig McCullough. Tales of Ise. Stanford, 1968.
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Willard Clark in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Freer Gallery of Art
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

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