Courtiers approaching Nakoso barrier, inscribed with a verse from the anthology Senzai wakashu

Artist: Tomioka Tessai 富岡鉄斎 (1836-1924)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, 1905
Ink and color on paper, ivory jiku
H x W (image): 137.8 × 34.3 cm (54 1/4 × 13 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Lawrence and Sonia Klein
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Japan, kakemono, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

Swift, spontaneous brush strokes delineate a simple scene of a courtier and his small retinue approaching a mountain barrier gate.  Light touches of pink depict cherry blossoms, a motif repeated in the decorated square near the top that represents a shikishi, a sheet of paper for inscribing a single verse of Japanese poetry. The quoted poem comes from the anthology, Senzai wakashu (Collection of Japanese Poems of a Thousand Years), compiled in the 1180s by order of Emperor Goshirakawa (1127-1192). The poem composed by Minamoto Yoshi'ie (1039-1106) reads:

Although I know
the wind blows
at Nakoso Barrier,
how the mountain cherry blossoms
narrow the path!

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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