Hokusai, Hundred Poems

Hokusai, Hundred Poems detail

Hokusai, Hundred Poems detail

Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849

The Hundred Poems [By the Hundred Poets] as Told by the Nurse: Teishin Ko
(Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki: Teishin Ko)

a view at a villa entrance in a mountainous landscape with pine and red maples, at center a young man in courtly robes bows his head towards a monk kneeling before him; signed zen Hokusai Manji, with publisher's seal Eijudo (Iseya Sanjiro) and censor's kiwame seal, the reverse with collector's seals of William Sturgis Bigelow (twice) and Perrine on verso, ca. 1835-6

oban yoko-e 10 3/8 by 14 7/8 in., 26.4 by 37.8 cm

This series is based on the famous anthology of waka poems, Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each), compiled by Fujiwara no Teika (or Sadaie, 1162-1241) at the request of his son, Fujiwara no Tame'ie (1198-1275) on behalf of Tame'ie's father-in-law who was furnishing a villa in Kyoto. Teika produced shikishi (calligraphy poem sheets) of each poem in his distinctive calligraphy (Teika-ryu, lit. Teika style) to decorate the screens of the residence which was located near Mount Ogura, north of the Katsuragawa river. Later in his life, Teika complied another anthology of one hundred poems, the Shoji Hyakushu, at the request of the former Emperor Go-Toba. As such, the first anthology is sometimes identified as the 'Ogura' Hyakunin Isshu, the same neighborhood as the subject of the poem illustrated by Hokusai in this print.

The poem is by Fujiwara no Tadahira (880-949), who was given the name Teishin Ko posthumously. As the prime minister, he was asked by the Emperor Uda, who had relinquished his throne to his son to become a monk, to extend an invitation to the reigning Emperor Daigo to visit his father at Mount Ogura to view the autumn colors. The poem is the minister's eloquent invitation.

Ogura yama
Mine no momiji-ba
Kokoro araba
abi no
Miyuki matanan

If the maple leaves
On the ridge of Ogura
Have the gift of mind,
They will longingly await
One more august pilgrimage

References:
Peter Morse, Hokusai: One Hundred Poets, 1989, pp. 72-73, no. 26

Published:
Katherine Martin, Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part One, Scholten Japanese Art, 2005, no. 34

Provenance:
Ex Collection William Sturgis Bigelow, Boston
Ex Collection Perrine

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