Figures with Calligraphy of a Passage from the "Heike Monogatari" ("The Tales of Heike")

Figures with Calligraphy of a Passage from the "Heike Monogatari" ("The Tales of Heike")

1700s

Yosa Buson

(Japanese, 1716-1783)

Hanging scroll; ink and light color on paper

Overall: 157.5 x 28.6 cm (62 x 11 1/4 in.); Painting only: 111.3 x 27.1 cm (43 13/16 x 10 11/16 in.)

Sundry Purchase Fund 1971.233

Description

A literati painter and haiga poet, Yosa Buson composed both Chinese-style and Japanese-style poems. Here, Buson combined his two figure paintings with calligraphy of text from Heike Monogatari, a great historical romance written around 1240 that describes the rise and fall of the Taira family. The passage records the visits of the Taira courtier Lord Jittei with his sister Matsuyoi, the former empress’s lady-in-waiting. The female figure at the top of the scroll is painted summarily in red-gray and yellow-green line; the male figure, in blue and brown robes and pink flesh.

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