The Poetess Admires the Moon – surimono

Katsushika Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai - The Poetess Admires the Moon – surimono
This sheet by Hokusai, which is enriched with silver and golden shades, bears a flower cartouche in the top right corner with the name of the series: “Five Outstanding Poetesses” (Gokasen). This sheet may show the well-known poetess Ono no Komachi, who features, among others, in many theatre plays of the Noh genre as a woman who, though endowed with talent and beauty, spent the end of her life in poverty and loneliness. The artwork is signed “by the brush of Hokusai, newly known as Iitsu” (Hokusai aratame Iitsu hitsu). Three attached Japanese poems, tanka, praise the moon; watching the moon (especially in the autumn) is a traditional literati pastime. The moon is not only a poetic symbol, but in Japanese culture watching it is also a pretext for organizing a literature contest or collective poetry writing.
measurements: height 20,9 cm
width 18,6 cm
material: paper
technique: Colour woodblock print
inventory number: Vm 1125
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art

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