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Autumn Ivy

Ogata Kenzan (Japanese, 1663–1743)

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
after 1732
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Album leaf mounted as a hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 8 3/8 x 10 7/8 in. (21.3 x 27.6 cm) Overall: 44 7/8 x 22 1/4 in. (114 x 56.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
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
Accession Number:
1975.268.67
  • Description

    Although ceramics were his forte, Kenzan occasionally tested his skills as a painter, and there is an artless, rugged energy to his works on paper that effectively complements his idiosyncratic, expressive calligraphy. As if tossed by the same breeze that moves the leaves of ivy, Kenzan’s freely inscribed waka poem dangles down the right half of this painting, augmenting his vision pictorially as well as poetically:

    Kakaru shimo
    waga aki naranu
    matsukaze ya
    chiru no urami no
    tsuta no momijiba

    Though not yet autumn,
    winds through the pines
    blow all around me,
    and I dread they will scatter
    the crimson leaves of ivy.

    —Trans. John T. Carpenter

    The image recalls a famous episode from the tenth-century Ise Stories (Ise monogatari) in which the protagonist encounters an itinerant monk along an ivy-strewn path on Mount Utsu.

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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