Posted by John Fiorillo on October 27, 2001 at 10:03:43:
In Reply to: Translation of poem from Hiroshige's Dai-Tanzakuban Kacho-ga series? posted by Nan Hannon on October 27, 2001 at 02:23:35:
I cannot provide a complete translation, but the poem, a 31-syllable 'ky˘ka', mentions (I'm paraphrasing here) that during a spring rain the frogs do not have the protection of the yamabuki (as if they might serve as a raincoat). The phrase you mention, 'naku kaeru-no', does indeed allude to the crying or natural voicing of frogs.
Yamabuki, or yellow rose, is a wild mountain flower (though today it is cultivated). It is a common design element in Japanese art, found in prints, paintings, lacquerware, metal work, ceramics, family crests, and so on. It is often, as in Hiroshige's print, shown blooming by a river or body of water, and beyond this, the association is often with a particular river, the Ide Tamagawa near Kyoto, and thus one of the Mu Tamagawa (Six Jewel Rivers), though I do not claim here that this is the case with Hiroshige's design. Each of the jewel rivers had a particular set of attributes; the Ide included yamabuki, horseback riding, and frogs. Furthermore, when the association between yamabuki and a river involves a courtier, it is sometimes assumed to be the famous ninth-century poet and courtier Ariwara no Narihira, the reputed model for the equally famous 'Ise monogatari' (Tales of Ise). Such associations can be found in poems, some offering straight-forward imagery, others more fanciful. For example, a classical poem by Fujiwara no Shunzei, from the 13th-century anthology 'Shin kokinshű', speaks of a courtier letting his horse drink from the Ide river while dew from the yamabuki falls into the water. A painted handscroll in the Burke Collection shows this scene, with the yellow yamabuki blooming along the riverside (see Murase, M., Bridge of Dreams: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection of Japanese Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000). Quite different from this sort of depiction is a print by Kitagawa Utamaro for a series titled 'Mu Tamagawa," circa 1795, in which the design for the Ide River depicts the courtesan Hana˘gi, who holds a flowering branch of yamabuki. There is a verse that mentions a big spender [in the pleasure quarters] who scatters his money like yamabuki in the wind.
There is an impression of the Hiroshige print in the Tokyo National Museum. By the way, there is no series title on the print. What you mention, 'Dai-Tanzakuban Kacho-ga', and translate correctly, is simply a generic designation for the type of print, and it is not inscribed on the print.
Post a Followup