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A pine and poem by Otagaki Rengetsu in Pink and Blue under-glaze decorates this bamboo shaped cup made by Kiju enclosed in an old wooden box titled Rengetsu Ni Matsu-ga Hai (Pine Cup by the Nun Rengetsu). It is 2-1/4 x 1-1/2 inches (5.5 x 4 cm) and is in fine condition. The poem reads:
Yukusue no Of future fortune
Sachi to yohai wo and longevity
Futaba nite Two needles sprout
Chitose wo matsu ya The pine that lasts
Hisashikaru ran. a thousand years
Much has been written about the life and work of poet/artist Otagaki Rengetsu. 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.