Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

墨蹟 「雪」
Poem on the Theme of Snow

Artist:
Musō Soseki (Japanese, 1275–1351)
Period:
Nanbokuchō period (1336–92)
Date:
14th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 11 3/4 x 32 1/2 in. (29.8 x 82.6 cm) Overall with mounting: 48 7/8 x 38 in. (124.1 x 96.5 cm) Overall with knobs: 48 7/8 x 40 1/4 in. (124.1 x 102.2 cm)
Classification:
Calligraphy
Credit Line:
Gift of Sylvan Barnet and William Burto, in honor of Maxwell K. Hearn, 2011
Accession Number:
2011.534
Not on view
Musō Soseki, the expert calligrapher of this verse, was one of the most influential Zen priests of the fourteenth century, having trained under the Chinese émigré Yishan Yining (Japanese: Issan Ichinei; 1247–1317). He received the special imperial designation “National Master Musō.” As a rule, Musō ’s calligraphic works are executed in an elegant cursive script, reflecting the influence of his Chinese master. The highly stylized characters in this piece suggest that Musō had carefully studied classical examples. The verse reads:

From heaven fall icy petals;
In the sky not a spot of blue remains.
A dusting of jade covers the ground
And buries the blue mountains.
The sun rises over the mountain peak.
The chill pierces my bones.
Silence prevails.

—Trans. Edwin Cranston
Related Objects

Letter to Suwa Daishin, Officer of the Shogun

Artist: Musō Soseki (Japanese, 1275–1351) Date: ca. 1339–51 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink on paper Accession: 2014.719.12 On view in:Not on view

Three Poems from the “Later Collection of Japanese Poems” (Gosen wakashū), or “Shirakawa Fragment” (Shirakawa-gire)

Artist: Traditionally attributed to Monk Saigyō (Japanese, 1118–1190) Date: late 12th century Medium: Page from book, mounted as hanging scroll; ink on paper Accession: 2015.300.233 On view in:Not on view

Two Poems from the Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern, Continued (Zoku kokin wakashū)

Artist: Nun Abutsu (Japanese, died 1283) Date: 13th century Medium: Page from a book; ink on paper Accession: 2015.300.236 On view in:Gallery 223

Ten Verses on Oxherding

Date: 1278 Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on paper Accession: 2015.300.10 On view in:Gallery 224