Calligraphy of a Poem over a Design of Chrysanthemums
Painted by Tawaraya Sōtatsu, Japanese, died 1643. Calligraphy by Hon'ami Kōetsu, Japanese, 1558 - 1637.
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The chrysanthemum was one of the most popular motifs for ornamental poem cards (shikishi). Hon’ami Koetsu’s calligraphy of a poem from the Shinkokin wakashu (New Collection of Japanese Poems from Ancient and Modern Times) has almost disappeared among the tarnished silver of the flowers. The verse is by Fujiwara no Takafusa (1148–1209).
Before I could speak
It must be that my heart has gone
To be your guide—
To lead you to this questioning
Of whither I bend my gaze.