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This soulful image of a Japanese hamlet in the depths of winter was done by one of the most renowned and loved waka poets of the 19th century, Ōtagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875).
Born into a Samurai family but soon after adopted by the Ōtagaki family, from the age of seven to sixteen Rengetsu was a lady in waiting at Kameoka castle where she was trained in the arts and courtly graces. Due to her rumored great beauty, she soon married but after the death of her husband in 1823, she joined the temple Chion-in and became a nun, taking Rengetsu (Lotus Moon) as her Buddhist name.
Rengetsu is widely regarded as one of the greatest waka poets of the 19th century. A skilled Shijo School painter, she was also an accomplished calligrapher and potter. She admired and studied under a number of great poets including Ozawa Roan and Ueda Akinari, and later in life became a close friend and mentor to the artist Tomioka Tessai.
The poem reads:
Yomosugara, naki shi kitsune no, ato nara de, kuma koso nakere, yuki no yamazato
But for the footprints, of a fox who howled, through the night, there are no shadows― a snowy mountain village.
The artwork and words combine to transport us to this tranquil winter scene in a mountain village in the Japanese countryside over 100 years ago. Perhaps a fire burns in the hearth to warm the occupants and the fox that howled through the previous night now basks in the afternoon sun, happy and contented after having found the day’s meal.
Sumi and color on Japnanese paper with a silk border, this hanging scroll is 165cm tall and 32cm wide. The artwork on the scroll is 93cm tall and 28cm wide. It is in very good condition and comes with a certificate box notarized by former Imperial Court Poet-Historian Takejima Matajiro. Fully insured international shipping is included in the price.
NOTE: We currently have a number of other fine works by Ōtagaki Rengetsu that are not listed in our catalog. Please contact us for details.