A bijin stands aloof, painting by Kyoto Ukiyoe artist Yasukawa Harusada with Calligraphy above by Otagaki Rengetsu. The poem reads:
Itoyanagi midarenu hodo ni, Susabu nari eda wo narasanu, miyo no harukaze
Neither tangling the willow nor jostling it’s branches, this divine spring breeze
The dyed blue silk border is taken from Kimono with futai and Ichimonji heavily embroidered satin and red lacquer rollers. It is 17 x 79 inches (43 x 200 cm) Restored at some time in the distant past, there are some minor stains.
Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875) was born into a samurai family, she was adopted into the Otagaki family soon after birth, and served as a lady in waiting in Kameoka Castle in her formative years, where she received an education worthy of a Lady of means. Reputed to be incredibly beautiful, she was married and bore three children; however her husband and all children died before she was twenty. Remarried she bore another daughter, however that child too perished and her husband died while she was just 32. Inconsolable, she cut off her hair to join the nunnery at Chion-in Temple, where she renounced the world and received the name Rengetsu (Lotus Moon). However this was not the end, but only the beginning of a career as artist and poet which would propel her to the top of the 19th century Japan literati art world.
Yasukawa Harusada I & II (1798-1849) & (1830-1887) were Kyoto ukiyo-e artists and print-makers.