Painting on wooden board by Takechi Koetsu (1956-)
Japan, Showa Period - dated: 1986, December 31
Color on wood
H: 35 4/5 inch, W: 11 1/4 inch
Takechi Koetsu (born 1956 in Inuyama, Aichi), is living and working in Ikoma, Nara.
Inscription: In the bottle, sun and moon shine eternally (Kochu jitsu getsu nagashi)
Signed and sealed (bottom left): Koetsu, Sealed (top right): Kenkon (=Heaven and Earth).
Inscription on the back: 1986, new year's eve, Shigisanjin Koetsu, Seal: Takechi Isao.
An old man operated a pharmacy whose medicines always worked well. In the store there was a big jar of medicine. No matter who came and no matter what their problem was, medicine was given from that jar, with excellent results. Everyone in town trusted the man and his medicine. But no one knew where he lived. In the evening people would see him closing the shop, but no one ever saw where he went. He would wait until no one was looking and then hide himself in the large jar that held all the medicine. Finally, one of the town's officials, who lived nearby, noticed this. The next day, the official went to the old man's store and greeted him with great respect. But the old man realized immediately that the official knew his secret and asked him why he had come. The official said, "I will return tomorrow morning. Please ask me again then." The old man understood and said, "You want to go into this big jar, don't you? Well, if you do want to do that, I will help you. Hold my kimono and close your eyes, and then you can come with me." The official did as he was told, and suddenly his body seemed lighter. The old man then told him he could open his eyes. When he opened his eyes, it was as if he were seeing a different world! How huge and spacious everything was! He saw a great garden filled with flowers and trees with ripened fruit. In the lake many fish were swimming, and the many rooms of the house he saw were all filled with treasures. It was such a rare and special state of mind that he forgot about the passing of time. Although he had always been chased by his work and by time, it all seemed like a lie and was forgotten.
He wondered how this could be. Because the old pharmacist could read his thoughts, he answered without prompting, "I am a person from an enchanted land. I am not a person of this world, I am from the world of hermits and sages. Because I made a mistake, I was sent down to Earth. Now I have been forgiven and can return to the world of gods and heavenly beings. It's time for me to return here now. I saw your heart of good will, and I wanted to show you a little corner of this heavenly realm, but this isn't a place you can stay. Let's drink a cup of sake together and then say farewell." The official drank the sake and when his head cleared, he found he was back in his office. He thought he had been gone only a few hours, but it had been several days. In the pot, sun and moon shine eternally.