Visitors come to the Metropolitan Museum expecting to be immersed in beautiful art from various eras. Whether they're looking for a particular piece or intending to stroll casually through the galleries, they might be surprised to get wrapped up in a story. People often look for art that is visually pleasing, but through pieces such as the poem above—currently on view in the exhibition Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art—they may find a sensation entirely different from what they expected.
In this work of calligraphy, one gorgeously detailed character stands out and creates the sensation that it is something more than simply a character. In fact, it represents the beginning of a profound poem about love. Translated, the poem reads:
If I die of a broken heart,
No other name than yours
Will be raised in blame,
But no doubt you'll just say,
"That's life: nothing lasts forever."
—Trans. John T. Carpenter
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