Tamamura Biho (dates unknown)
Song of Quiet Night Thoughts
hanging scroll, ink and colors on silk; signed Biho with artist's seal Biho, with tomobako signed Biho with artist's seal Biho, a sticker on the scroll end reads Tamamura, ca. 1930-40s
painting 49 3/8 by 19 7/8 in., 125.5 by 50.5 cm
The subject of this painting relates directly to painting by Kobayakawa Kiyoshi (1896-1948), who derived the title for his work from a famous Chinese poem commonly known in Japanese as Seiyashi (lit. Quiet Night Thoughts), written by the immortal Chiense poet, Li Po (Li Bai, 701-762); although Kiyoshi inserted the extra kanji, 'ka' (song) in his title.
Neru mae ni gekko wo miru
This poem has been translated numerous times into English, but perhaps most famously, it was also included among a group of Li Po poems translated by the influential American poet, Ezra Pound (1885-1972), based, in part, on the notes of his good friend, the late Ernest Fenollosa (1853-1908), an American professor who joined the faculty at the Imperial University in Tokyo in 1878 and who was one of the most influential figures advocating Nihonga in Japan.
On a Quiet Night
(Translated by Shigeyoshi Obata, The Works of Li Po, the Chinese Poet, 1923)
(Translated by Arthur Cooper, Li Po and Tu Fu, 1973)
Calm Night Thought
(Translated by Ezra Pound, Cathay, 1915).
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