Long sleeves of twilled silk from Wu,as white as snow.Upon them painted bamboo thrustsas if alive.Madam [Shimo]mura, from the north hallof the Karakane family,In her wedding trousseau, preciouswithout compare.Carefully wrapped up at the bottom of achest, no one dared wear it.Her grandmother's thing, handed downby her mother.Who could have painted such beautifulbamboo?The record states: by Gion knownas Yoichi.Ah, Nankai, was it he or not?For the one in the ladies' chamber, hepainted the skirt of the robe.At that time, old man Karakane wasa dilettante.On famous gardens, he composedsplendid poems.Once he persuaded the master[Nankai] to stay at his mansion.The whole household rejoiced, waitedupon him, and surrounded himlike a human screen.At times, with wine at his side, hedipped into the ink.Droplets make Xiang rain from themovements of his hand.[The brush,] like rising hare andswooping falcon, without carefor where it might land.Clothes and socks of the same fabric,the brush abruptly flew.The fair ones stretched out silk insubstitution of the silk canvas.Facing straight at the skirts, here thinhere plump, contesting.Sir, do you not know that formerlyYang Shen was exiled to Dian[Yunnan] and Shu [Sichuan]?On the pretty girl's robe alwaysremains the scent of wineand ink.Men say, "Enough to wear down aman's spirit."But, what the famous did wasunfathomable.The lady still knows how to respectold excellence.What her family instructions urgedwas unlike present fashions.Nowadays, the eyes of rich young menin silk trousers are callow.She is willing to believe that ink tracesare superior to fine silk garments.I make a song to sing of this affair.What coils in the bosom is ten-thousand-foot bamboo.—Rai San'yō(transl. Sadako Ohki)This poem was inspired by the overrobe exhibited in the next case. Painted by the renowned Nanga artist Gion Nankai (1677–1751), the garment was treasured for generations by the Karakane family. In 1824, on the occasion of the marriage of a young Karakane woman and the inclusion of the overrobe in her dowry, the prominent poet and Confucian scholar Rai San'yō was commissioned to compose a poem about the garment. This kanshi (a poem written entirely in Chinese characters) is the result.Multiple interpretations of San'yō's poem have been suggested: a conservative reading focuses on Nankai's calligraphic painting of the garment, while another refers to more overtly sensual content. At one point, in an abrupt departure from the narrative, the poet addresses the reader (and Nankai), warning of the dangers of excess by mentioning the disgraced Chinese official Yang Shen (1488–1559), who was exiled on account of his hedonistic lifestyle. In his postscript to the poem, San'yō writes that he agreed to compose the poem because Nankai had agreed to paint the overrobe. Perhaps San'yō felt the need to justify his involvement in a project devoted to a woman's garment by couching it in terms of his relationship to his Nanga forebear.