Robert Mangold has been working with Japanese antiques since 1995 with an emphasis on ceramics, Paintings, Armour and Buddhist furniture.
In accordance with the requests of local authorities our Kyoto gallery will be closed to visitors from April 14th until further notice.
Otagaki Rengetsu Scroll, The Promise of Spring
Please refer to our stock # ALR8029 when inquiring.
A dark forest rises in a field of white, as if still covered in frost or snow, over which is draped a poem brushed in the exquisite script of the poet-nun Otagaki Rengetsu,
Itsu to naki, Tokiwa no sato ha, Hototogisu shinobu hatsune ni, Uzuki wo ya shiru?
With the first cry of the Cuckoo, in this village of Tokiwa
Will the people realize, Spring has arrived?
To the extreme left, the cuckoo flies off the page. Ink on paper in forest green silk extended in a beige with black lacquered wood rollers. The scroll is 50.5 x 113.5 cm (20 x 44-1/2 inches). There are faint water stains in the upper border (see closeup photos). It comes enclosed in an old wooden collector’s box annotated by Nanga artist Ueda Koho (1860-1944). The inscription reads Rengetsu-ni Painting, Attested to by the eyes of the 80 year old man Koho Ueda.
Much has been written about the life and work of poet/artist Otagaki Rengetsu. Born into a samurai family, she was adopted into the Otagaki family soon after birth, and served as a lady in waiting in Kameoka Castle in her formative years, where she received an education worthy of a Lady of means. Reputed to be incredibly beautiful, she was married and bore three children; however, her husband and all children died before she was twenty. Remarried she bore another daughter, however that child too perished and her husband died while she was just 32. Inconsolable, she cut off her hair to join the nunnery at Chion-in Temple, where she renounced the world and received the name Rengetsu (Lotus Moon). However this was not the end, but only the beginning of a career as artist and poet which would propel her to the top of the 19th century Japan literati art world.
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