Exhibitions/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Poem by Kiyowara no Fukayabu with Design of Wisteria

Artist:
Calligraphy by Hon'ami Kōetsu (Japanese, 1558–1637)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
early 17th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Poem card (shikishi) mounted as a hanging scroll; ink on paper with mica
Dimensions:
Image: 7 13/16 x 6 3/4 in. (19.9 x 17.2 cm) Overall: 50 3/8 x 16 1/4 in. (128 x 41.2 cm)
Classification:
Calligraphy
Credit Line:
Collection of Sylvan Barnet and William Burto
Not on view
Koishinaba
ta ga na wa tataji
yo no naka no
tsune naki mono to
ii wa nasu to mo

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

Note that the poem is inscribed using the “scattered writing” (chirashigaki) technique, so it begins at the middle with the boldly brushed characters making up the phrase koishinaba (literally, “to die from love”). The column to the left is read next, and then the reader must move to the far right to read the final lines.