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Poem Scroll with Selections from the Anthology of Chinese and Japanese Poems for Recitation (Wakan Roei Shu)
Hon'ami Koetsu (1558 - 1637)
Japan; Edo period (1615-1867), dated to 1626
Handscroll; Ink and gold on silk
H. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm); W. 206 1/2 in. (524.5 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
This handscroll illustrates the type of work produced by the Rinpa school, a group of artists whose works are characterized by bright colors, bold forms, and lavish surfaces. In this fourteen-foot scroll, poems are written against a background of bamboo stalks and leaves painted in gold in a wide array of combinations. The poems are written with full, cursive strokes in which shades of light and dark ink vary, giving a sense of movement to the calligraphy. The Chinese poems are in Chinese characters and the Japanese poems are in Japanese syllabic kana. The use of silk and gold in the creation of this work suggests it was made for an important patron, possibly a member of the ruling family. The inscription and seal at the end of the scroll indicate that Koetsu, one of the most influential artists of the period, was the calligrapher.
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