Album of Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing

Calligraphy by Konoe Nobutada Japanese

Not on view

Konoe Nobutada, a courtier-calligrapher famed for his bold, expressive, and idiosyncratic handwriting, inscribed the decorated poetry sheets (shikishi) for an album comprising selections from Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing, compiled about 1013 by the courtier-poet Fujiwara no Kintō (966–1041). This was surely one of the most widely studied and cited poetry anthologies available around the time Murasaki Shikibu was crafting her complex tale, which is interwoven with 795 waka (thirty-one-syllable verses) and countless allusions to Chinese poems.

Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing is composed of 588 Chinese couplets and 216 accompanying waka, interspersed with each other as if to draw out resonances in poetic imagery and style.

Album of Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing, Calligraphy by Konoe Nobutada (Japanese, 1565–1614), Album of thirty-six leaves; each on gold, silver, or colored decorated paper, Japan

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