The Poetess Praising Prunus Blossoms – surimono

Katsushika Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai - The Poetess Praising Prunus Blossoms – surimono
This sheet by Hokusai, a “mica-glossy” print kirara enriched with silver and bronze 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 and fiction writer Murasaki Shikibu, author of the famous Tale of Genji. The artwork is signed “by the brush of Hokusai, newly known as Iitsu” (Hokusai aratame Iitsu hitsu). Two attached Japanese poems, tanka, glorify the early spring and early prunus blossoms, traditional symbols of resilience and eternal beauty. The poem signed Saiko sha Atozumi reads: From the beginning / by five layers of colour / the sleeves tremble / just like the haze of the mist / before the coin of the moon. The poem signed Eikinsha Kohagi reads: The prunus so lonesome / just like a steadfast man / colours its blossoms / and people call it / the candle of all eyes.
measurements: height 21,3 cm
width 18,8 cm
material: paper
technique: Colour woodblock print
inventory number: Vm 1126
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art

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