The stately, vertical forms of irises set against an angular bridge that sweeps diagonally across both screens refer to an episode in The Ise Stories (Ise monogatari). Exiled from Kyoto after an affair with a high-ranking court lady, the story’s protagonist stops at Yatsuhashi, a place where a stream branches into eight channels, each with its own bridge. The sight of irises prompts him to compose a nostalgic love poem. The first syllable of each line forms the Japanese word for irises (kakitsubata). The English translation, though unable to convey the complex wordplay of the original, is also an acrostic:
Karagoromo kitsutsu narenishi tsuma shi areba harubaru kinuru tabi o shi zo omou
I wear robes with well-worn hems, Reminding me of my dear wife I fondly think of always,
So as my sojourn stretches on
Ever farther from home,
Sadness fills my thoughts. —Trans. John T. Carpenter
Marquis Ikeda Japanese, Tottori (sale; Tokyo Bijutsu Kurubu, Tokyo, 1919; to Heisando); [ Heisandō Co., Ltd. , Tokyo; sold to Mutō Sanji]; Mutō Sanji , Japan (sold to Sometani Kanji); [ Sometani Kanji , Kyoto; sold to Mizutani Nisaburō].; [ Mizutani Nisaburō , Kyoto; sold to Yamanaka & Co].; [ Yamanaka & Co. Japanese, Kyoto, 1953; sold to MMA].
New York. Asia House Gallery. "Byōbu: Japanese Screens from New York Collections," January 14, 1971–March 14, 1971.
Tokyo National Museum. "Rimpa: Outstanding Works of the Korin School," October 10, 1972–December 3, 1972.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Courtly Romance in Japanese Art," May 12–July 12, 1989.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Kodai-ji Lacquer," 1995.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seasonal Pleasures in Japanese Art, Part II," May 1–September 8, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Resonant Image: Tradition in Japanese Art (Part Two)," April 27–September 27, 1998.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," 1999.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Blossoms of Many Colors: A Selection from the Permanent Collection of Japanese Art," March 21–August 9, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sense of Place: Landscape in Japanese Art," May 8–September 8, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan II," March 22–September 21, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Birds, Flowers, and Buddhist Paradise Imagery in Japanese Art," February 14–June 13, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Spring and Summer," December 17, 2005–June 4, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Flowing Streams: Scenes from Japanese Arts and Life," December 21, 2006–June 3, 2007.
Tokyo. Nezu Museum. "Korin: National Treasure Irises of the Nezu Museum and Eight-Planked Bridge of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 21, 2012–May 20, 2012.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art," May 26, 2012–January 13, 2013.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Discovering Japanese Art: American Collectors and the Met," February 14 - September 27, 2015.
Kuroe Mitsuhiko 黒江光彥 et al. Nihon, sōshokuga, Eitoku kara Sōtatsu. Kōrin: Kinpeki ni kazarareta kachō to fūzoku 日本 · 裝飾畫 · 永德から宗達 · 光琳 : 金碧に飾かれた花鳥と風俗. Sekai meiga zenshū 21. Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1964.
Akiyama Terukazu 秋山光和, Shimada Shūjirō 島田修二郎, and Yamane Yūzō 山根有三, eds. Zaigai Nihon no shihō 在外日本の至宝 (Japanese art: selections from Western collections): Rinpa. vol. 5, Tokyo: Mainichi Shinbunsha, 1979, pl. 59.
Howard, Kathleen, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983, p. 245, fig. 12.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Asia. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987, pp. 40–41, pl. 18.
Tokyo Kokuritsu Bunkazai Kenkyūjo 東京国立文化財研究所, ed. Nyūyōku Metoroporitan Bijutsukan, kaiga, chōkoku ニューヨークメトロポリタン美術館，絵画・彫刻 (Painting and sculpture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) Kaigai shozai Nihon bijutsuhin chōsa hōkoku 海外所在日本美術品調查報告 (Catalogue of Japanese art in foreign collections) 1. Tokyo: Kobunkazai Kagaku Kenkyūkai, 1991, p. 97, cat. nos. 288.1-2.
Traganou, Jilly. The Tōkaidō Road: Traveling and Representation in Edo and Meiji Japan. London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004, p. 159, fig. 31.
Carpenter, John T. Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012, pp. 180–81, cat. no. 84.
McKelway, Matthew P. Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828). Exh. cat. New York: Japan Society, 2012, pp. 24–26, fig. 8.
Nezu Museum. Korin ten : kokuhō "Kakitsubatazu" to Metoroporitan Bijutsukan shozō "Yatsuhashizu" Korin 展 : 国宝 「燕子花図」 とメトロポリタン美術館所蔵 「八橋図」 (Irises and Eight Bridges: Masterpieces by Kōrin from the Nezu Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
. Exh. cat. Tokyo: Nezu Bijutsukan, , pp. 30–48, cat. no. 8.
Carpenter, John T. The Poetry of Nature: Edo Paintings from the Fishbein-Bender Collection. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018, pp. 46–47 (top), fig. 11.
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