Ōtagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875)

Tanzaku with Poem "Little Cuckoo in Front of the Moon"

Inv. Nr. #21.022
Date late Edo period
Material Ink and flakes of gold leaf on paper
Dimensions H 143,0 x W 36,0 cm

Comes with plain, fitted wooden box.

Ōtagaki Rengetsu is the most famous Japanese female poet of 19th Century, also known for her excellent skills in calligraphy and pottery. Rengetsu wrote numerous tanzaku poem papers, which were later mounted by admirers and collectors as hanging scrolls. Here, we have such a poem in Rengetsu's distinct handwriting:

 

月前時鳥

 

ほととぎす

今一聲と

まちしまに

しらみはてたる

有明の月

 

"Little Cuckoo in Front of the Moon"

 

A little cuckoo

While awaiting

One more chirp

It has faded out completely—

The morning moon.