“Fourth Month” from Fujiwara no Teika’s “Birds and Flowers of the Twelve Months”
Ogata Kenzan (Japanese, 1663–1743)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Image: 6 5/16 x 8 15/16 in. (16 x 22.7 cm)
Overall with mounting: 43 1/4 x 19 in. (109.9 x 48.3 cm)
Overall with knobs: 43 1/4 x 20 5/8 in. (109.9 x 52.4 cm)
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Not on view
Kenzan, brother of the painter and designer Ogata Kŏrin (1658–1716), is best known as a potter but was also a gifted painter and calligrapher. This small painting was separated from a group of twelve representing plants and animals symbolic of the twelve months, each inscribed with two poems. The poems were taken from the Shǔigusŏ, a collection of verse by the influential poet and calligrapher Fujiwara Teika (1162–1241). The poems from the fourth month refer to unohana (deutzia flowers) and to the hototogisu, a bird related to the cuckoo. They read:
Shirotae no koromo hosu chō natsu no kite kakine mo tawa ni sakeru u no hana
Hototogisu Shinobu no sato ni sato nare yo mada u no hana no tsuki matsu goro
Robes of white cloth should be aired out, they say, just when summer arrives and deutzia flowers in bloom cause the hedge to droop.
In the village of Shinobu where the cuckoo dwells, its cry is now heard, while we await next month when deutzia flowers bloom.
Artist: Ogata Kenzan (Japanese, 1663–1743)Date: 18th centuryMedium: Clay covered with white and black glazes and decorated on the white parts under the glaze (Kenzan style)Accession: 93.1.180On view in:Not on view