Part of the "Collection of Japanese Poems Ancient and Modern" (One of the "Sunshōan Poem Papers")


Part of the "Collection of Japanese Poems Ancient and Modern" (One of the "Sunshōan Poem Papers")

calligraphy / Heian

Attributed to Ki no Tsurayuki

Heian period, 11th century

Ink on decorated paper


Important Cultural Property

This page was taken from the Kokin waka shu, an ancient Japanese poetry anthology, and mounted on a hanging scroll. It was kept in a sub-temple of Kyoto's Daitokuji temple by the Edo-period tea master Sakuma Shogen Sanekatsu, who lived from 1570 to 1642. It was housed in the sub-temple's tearoom, known as Sunshoan, which is why the poem is known as 'Sunshoan shikishi'’ or the 'Sunshoan poem-card.' It was treasured as a decoration to be hung up and enjoyed in the tea room.

The poem is written on paper imported from China. A pattern was once imprinted on the white ground, though it has more-or-less faded from view.

The poem is taken from the autumn section of the fifth volume of the Kokin waka shu. It describes the light of the moon reflecting on a mountain side covered with pretty autumn leaves.

Of particular note is the elegant gorgeousness of the Japanese kana characters. Viewers can enjoy the cursive sections and the beauty of the blank spaces. A further highlight is the way the layout of the characters creates an overall sense of balance, despite the waywardness of certain sections.

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