ももさへづり*やまと編*cent chants d'une chouette (Nara)

菫ほどな小さい人(A little person like a violet)


山の辺の道の菫(2015年)* violets, Yananobe-no-michi

春野尓 須美礼採尓等 来師吾曽 野乎奈都可之美 一夜宿二来



(山部宿祢赤人 萬葉集巻八1424

À la campagne printanière, à l’ intention de cueillir des violets, je suis attiré par la beauté de champs et ai passé la nuit en plein air. ― YAMABE no Akahito, Man'yoshu, traduction de snowdrop

Purple archangelsVeronica polita var.lilacinaStellaria



Je voudrais devenir des lilas que tu cueilles, quand même je me flétrisse dans le vase avant longtemps.



A Small Love Story is a cartoonseries (1962-2014) , whose heroine is a small girl like a violet and falls in love with a tall boy at high school. Snowdrop found this series when she was a schoolgirl, on the bookshelf of a junior high school girl in neighborhood.

A Small Love Story vol.7 by MITSUHASHI Chikako

While the heroine envies her tall boy friend being closer to the sky and stars, he says that the small heroine is closer to the flower, grass, and stones.


 The handwritten words without the balloon, the flowers of four seasons, the wit, the brevity, etc. just like haiku pictures!

 In fact, the author likes haiku from youth. One of haiku by NATSUME Soseki, “I want to be reborn as a little person like a violet” inspired her to create this cute heroine, Chicchi.

 Soseki referred this "little person" in a short story Java sparrow also.

「文鳥 新潮文庫」の画像検索結果
(google search)


正倉院の碁石の意匠のペンダント* Ivory go-stone-design pendant

 "The Java sparrow suddenly dropped its beak in the middle of the seed pot. And it swung the beak a few times. The grains of millet that had been flat fluttered down to the bottom of the cage. It raised the beak. A murmur in its throat. It drops its beak in the grains again. The murmur again. This sound is interesting. When listening to it quietly, the sound is round, fine, and very swift. I feel as if a little person like a violet was knocking an agate go stone with a golden hammer.(…)
 The colour of the beak looks like the purplish scarlet. One finds the gradation of the scarlet that ends in white at the tip pecking the grains. It is the white of the translucent ivory." ― Java sparrow by NATSUME Soseki, translation of snowdrop

目白 * snowdropの友人aster roseが写真を加工してくれました。
photo of Japanese white-eyes by snowdrop, image processing by aster rose


UCHIDA Hyakken, a disciple of Soseki, was a bird lover as well as a cat lover. He had bush warblers, meadow buntings, night herons, eared owls, etc. During the air raids, he would escape with a small cage of Japanese white-eyes in his arm. When he visited Soseki, the author of Java sparrow


 (…)その内に文鳥は辺りの気配に馴れて私の袖を伝って膝に降り、それからさっきびっくりした絨毯の上を不思議そうに歩き出した。絨毯の毛は文鳥の足の裏にあまりいい気持ではないに違いない。時時ぱっと飛び上がり、その序にホップして先生の膝に近い所へ行ったりした。(…)」 内田百閒「漱石山房の夜の文鳥」


「内田 百間」の画像検索結果

百閒(Hyakken) (google search)

(…)I bowed touching the tatami-floor with only my right hand and said to Mr. Natsume “I have brought my Java sparrow here.” And I let the bird loose from my left hand. As soon as it was put on the carpet, because of a little strange atmosphere, it warily flew to my shoulder. It might have been astonished by the dark red patterns of the carpet. It relaxed on my shoulder and began to preen.
 (…)Meanwhile, (…)it began to walk on the carpet that had startled it some time ago. The shaggy carpet must have been unpleasant for the soles of this bird. Sometimes it flew suddenly, and hopped to approach Mr. Natsume's knees.” ― Java sparrow at Soseki Sanbo (a house where Soseki stayed in his later years) one Night by UCHIDA Hyakken, translation of snowdrop

While Soseki represented realistically the Java sparrow through the sight and hearing, Hyakken empathizes with the bird and narrates humorously and tactilely.


Corps de ballet of Purple archangel ("Petite danseuse" en japonais)



Une petite danseuse rose, elle est une princesse qui danse en admirant le chant d' une alouette.

Haydn: String Quartets Op.64 No.5 "The Lark" 

Bouquet de violettes par Manet (pinterest)*マネ「スミレの花束と扇」

「manet bouquet de violettes」の画像検索結果



To someone who does not know even the name, violet, its petals have announced the coming of purple spring. Chat Noir




(Purple Princess is only you for me, the violet would smell as sweet even if it had no name. ode in reply)

「すみれ チッチとサリー」の画像検索結果

The ending of A Small Love StoryChicchi’s boy friend goes to Sweden to study physics…(google search)

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2017-03-27 20:40 | | Trackback | Comments(4)

あさが来た(on an early spring morning)




En allongeant des doigts duvetés, un magnolia kobus se measure avec des châssis des fenêtres.



Snowdrop had already walked on the east side of Yodoya-bashi or Oe-bashi Bridges. On an early spring morning, she began to walk on the west side of Yodoya-bashi Bridge. How charming the bridge to Festival Hall with musical note design! But that day her eyes were glued on another building at the opposite side. Here is Daido Life Insurance Company Head Office Building originally designed by W.M. Vories!


このモダンな高層建築が、あのヴォーリズゆかりのビルヂング?実はこれ、一粒社ヴォーリズ建築事務所による二代目なのです (1993

Such a modern skyscraper like those in Dubai was really designed by Vories?! In fact, this building is a reconstruction (1993) by W.M.Vories & Company Architects Ichiryusha. You can compare it with the original one(1925)by the following pictures(both from Tosabori-gawa River).





The pinnacles and terra‐cottas of the old building are left around the new building. A part of the marble floor in the old building is seen in the middle of the memorial hall in the new one.



Asako married a wealthy merchant in Osaka, into Kashima-ya Family. She participated in the management of Kashima-ya in the era of significant change throughout society (The Meiji Restoration) . She entered into coal mining business in Kyushu region while concealing a pistol in her pocket, and established Daido Life Insurance Company after an assault by a thug.

Asako reading a book*Tosabori-gawa River The Life of Hirooka Asako


It was because Vories’ wife, HITOTSUYANAGI Makiko was a younger sister of Asako’s son‐in‐law that Vories designed the building. The memorial hall in the new building includes the church-like styles typical of Vories.



Women’s Education by NARUSE Jinzo impressed Asako to support the establishment of the first women’s university in Japan. When Japan Women's University opened in 1901, Asako was fifty-three years old. It was the beginning of her second prime! She attended various classes among young students and made up for her first prime when she was forbidden from reading books. In a following picture, Asako wears a dress and is holding a tennis racket (at the far right).



 Here only Asako is in a dress among the students in a kimono. Asako prefered the dress to the kimono, not because she was neophilia but because she was active and could stride in a dress.
 A charming girl is smiling next to Asako. She is MURAOKA Hanako, who was to translate Anne of Green Gables (1908) around 1939-1946 (published in 1952).

            ↑Asako and Hanako↑


Asako gave her photographic portrait and tanka to Hanako. This tanka tells us that they both were Christians. The author of Women’s Education had inspired Asako to be baptized at Osaka Church. The present red brick building was designed by Vories after her death.


かみにいのりて深さくらへん 浅子


(tanka from Asako to Hanako* Let's keep our pure hearts to love each other forever. Let's pray to God together and compare the depth of our hearts each other ― translation of snowdrop)




Asako was a brave woman and yet she and her mild husband got on very well together. Let’s see their pictures side by sidethe husband was a man of taste who liked the tea ceremoby and the Noh chant. He supported his wife both officially and privately by his personality far from an industrialist. The life of this uncommon couple was novelized and dramatized.



Here is a picture of Vories and his wife, HITOTSUYANAGI Makiko. An American married a woman from a noble family, designed various structures, founded the Omi(Shiga prefecture)Mission, introduced the Hammond Organ into Japan, imported and sold Mentholatum products, and was naturalized in Japan in 1941The eventful life of this couple also was novelized.


(google search)


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# by snowdrop-nara | 2017-03-22 05:33 | | Trackback | Comments(2)

雪のむら消え(fading snow patches)



It is said that Omizu-tori (the rite of drawing sacred water in Todai-ji Temple) finishes, when the mild spring comes. In Nara, the snow rarely piles up, much less lingers. Snowdrop has rarely seen the fading snow patches’ patterns in the field. These photos of light snow in February represent her longing for the fading snow.

Il connaît la même paix que l’herbe qui pousse et la neige qui dort.
LE POETE par Artur Lundkvist 




  宮内卿 新古今和歌集76


I see the green of fresh grass, which varies shades of light and dark, which are the echoes of fading snow patches. ― Kunai Kyo,Shin Kokin-shu, translation of snowdrop.

雪の飛火野(Tobuhi-no Field,Nara,1990s


『能 花の風姿』三一書房 
One of three women gathering herbs is Unai-otome in Noh Motome-zuka.



前参議教長 新古今和歌集13


Just like the white sleeves of the women picking young herbs, the fading snow patches in Tobuhi-no Field in Kasuga-no are. FUJIWARA Norinaga,Shin Kokin-shu, translation of snowdrop


高野切第一種 伝紀貫之筆 二玄社 
(おほみうた「きみがため はるののにいてて わかなつむ…」)

どこか懐かしさを感じさせる、まぼろしの袖 ― ほら、雪の降りかかる袖を歌った古歌が、百人一首にありましたっけ。藤原教長は、古今集からこの歌を知ったはずです。

光孝天皇 古今和歌集 春上21


I have come to the spring meadows to pick herbs for you. The spring snow is falling on my sleeves. ― Emperor Koko, Kokin-shu, translation of snowdrop





While trying to pick dropworts at Yamada swamp, the hems of my skirt got wet with melted snow water. Man'yo-shu, translation of snowdrop


ホトケノザ * Lamium amplexicaule



(Hotoke-no-za * lotus-shaped pedestal is shining among the melting snow, which is for the spring light emitted by Buddha.)



A stone statue of Jizo is protected by the stone roof from the snow.



Snowdrop has found the sweets in the shape of a violet and of a freshly budded bracken. They are felicitating the early spring, and a flower-eating bird is aiming them.


花喰い鳥のつがいのような雲*Clouds like a pair of flower-eating birds

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2017-03-15 20:44 | | Trackback | Comments(3)

樂(らく)を生んだ男 下(A man who created Raku ware3)



Rikyu later invited Hideyoshi to his tea house where only one morning glory was arranged, although Hideyoshi had expected lots of flowers.




Black Raku "Oguro" by Chojizro

「茶碗の中の宇宙 樂家一子相伝の芸術」東京国立近代美術館(3月15日ー



Monologue of Chojiro


Rikyu-sama did not seek for the black itself. When eliminating the colour, there remained something like the black. That’s all. The Black Raku “O-guro”(upper fig.) is not a solid black tea bowl. Rikyu-sama kept and fondled for many years Black Raku

Kamurogirl with bobbed hair)” , which looked like a relaxing cat in his hands. From the colour to the shape, and from the shape of the teabowl to the shape of the space between the hands…gradually I began to try to leave the shape of the hands of Rikyu-sama, while he was still safe and alive.

When he was requested that golden tea house, he was so amused with the bright aesthetic sense of Lord Hideyoshi that he even contrived a collapsible and portable one! But it was just like my lion, the beauty to enjoy only for a while. If Rikyu-sama begins to pursue Wabi-cha, Lord Hideyoshi will not follow him and begin to hate him

楽 吉左衛門『楽焼創成 楽ってなんだろう』より * Black Raku "Kamuro"
禿(かむろ)* Kamuro(girl with bobbed hair)(wikipedia)


It was a tepid evening. The rain was falling down on the pale flowers of heartleaf day after day. Rikyu-sama in his dim tea room once seemed to hold a skull. Did he remember that Lord Nobunaga had ordered to make black-lacquered wine cups with skulls of his rivals? Or did he forsee that his top discipline of the way of tea, Yamanoue Soji woud make Lord Hideyoshi angry, would be cut off the ears and nose and be decapitated in the end? What a deep and bloody darkness in the silence of wabi-cha!

ドクダミ(英語名はハートの葉っぱ)♥ Heartleaf (2015)


“The way of tea in the turbulent times has finished! () A guest enters the teahouse to have a cup of tea and leaves the teahouse to depart for a battlefield, where he throws himself into the battle and dies. Such times have already finished.” Tea master (Maître de thé) written by INOUE Yasuhi, translation of snowdrop

「利休 等伯」の画像検索結果
長谷川等伯「千利休像」(部分) Sen no Rikyu by HASEGAWA Tohaku (google search)

Death of a Tea Master
(based on Maîtrede thé) (google serach)
film won the Silver Lion at the 43th VeniceInternational Film Festival.

「本覚坊遺文 奥田瑛二」の画像検索結果

 そら、この茶碗では、獅子が馬に生まれ変わった…黒馬の蹄が土を踏み鳴らし、飲み口は丘のようにうねる。茶碗は茶碗であることをすら拒もうとするのだろうか。器としての己の使命にすら牙をむく、不逞な器よ。まるで、茶の道以外の何ものにも仕えることを拒んだ、利休さまのようではないか。 これを焼いた十五代目は、フランスにも窯を構え、フランスの土で器を捏(つく)ねたりもするそうな。それもまた、よし、よし。

「十五代楽吉右衛門 フランス 楽焼」の画像検索結果
Another exhibition of Raku Kichizaemon XV. google search

 Four hundred years have passed since then
I never thought that such a morose tea bowl would become the ancestor of such various vessels made by my successors! Their vessels have changed their expressions and styles, while sometimes reverting to mineThat's all right. It is enough that only I devoted myself to Rikyu-sama’s aesthetic sense.

 Look, in this teabowl, my lion has changed into a horsea black horse stamping his feet on the ground with a undulating hill for the background (brim line). A teabowl has begun to refuse to be a teabowl? A malcontent vessel that rejects his mission as a vessel, it resembles Rikyu-sama who would not serve anything but his way of tea.

 Raku Kichizaemon XV made this teabowl inspired by a Chinese poem, and then got his kiln in France and has made France RAKU tea bowls also. That's all right, all right!

十五代楽吉左衛門「吹馬」* 唐詩 神絃曲 李賀「西山日没東山昏 旋風吹馬馬踏雲」
Black Raku tea bowl, "Horse blown by the Wind" by Raku Kichizaemon XV.
1993based on a Chinese poem by Li He (c.790791 c.816817)



(Un dessin d’ un cheval soufflé par le vent chinois, il ressemble à celui représenté dans la grotte de Lascaux.)

「Lait Sterilise」の画像検索結果
(google search)


(In a Black Raku that I have scooped up with my palms,a thick forest lurks.
Chat Noir)


君の()に黒猫のごと包まれて憩ふ茶碗とならましものを 🐈

(ode in reply)
I wish I were the teabowl that is held in your palms and relaxes like a black kitten. 🐈


Bonus*ODA Nobunari, Descendant of Lord Nobunaga
In this video (Rooster), Nobunari himself talks that he can skate well in pyjamas.

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2017-03-04 06:24 | | Trackback | Comments(2)

樂(らく)を生んだ男 中(A man who created Raku ware2)

掌のような八手と南天(一月の白川)* Fatsia like palm & Nandina



Monologue of Chojiro

After that I molded reddish clay day after day.While kneading the clay with my hands to make the form fitting into the hands, both my body and soul were absorbed in what I was molding. When it took form, I scraped it by a spatula. Nothing was to be added. I cut off and off to the bone. After firing, I soused it in a transparent glaze and fired it again in a small kiln.This is how those tea bowls were born with the red colour of the soil. They were called “tea bowl in Soeki [later Rikyu] style ” in those days. They were the first pottery specialized for the tea ceremony.

White heron in Lake Biwa Canal beside MOMAK


Here is a red tea bowl which were to be called “White Heron” because its white stains look like birds. True that such stains have been added through the years, but the incidental effects through the clay, glaze, and fire always fascinated me. Rikyu-sama, however, was pleased with the shape that fits the hands rather than the beautiful colour. He recommended me the clay under Jurakudai, the new mansion of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–1598, a successor to Oda Nobunaga), because the soil near his own house (by Jurakudai) was familiar for him, I suppose. When Rikyu-sama drew “ (the first)” in the bottom of the best one made of the clay of Jurakudai, I felt as if my efforts had been rewarded.

楽 吉左衛門『楽焼創成 楽ってなんだろう』より

赤と黒 わが足もとの土の碗 味はふ吾も


(Le Rouge et le Noir,
mes bols à thé du sol sous mes pieds, ils sont en ces deux couleurs, je les aime et un jour je rentrerai sous terre, dans le sol.)


待庵と黒楽「万代屋黒」(google search)
Tai-an (Tea house produced by Sen no Rikyu) and Black Raku "Mozuya-guro"


Rikyu-sama then requested me black tea bowls. It did not mean solid black ones. He wanted the casual black that would be integrated with his dim tea ceremony houses. Let’s see Black Raku "Mozuya-guro" . While the foot is completely covered by the thick black glaze, the inside shows the colour of the clay through the thin glaze. This colour of the inside reminded me of that of the mud wall showing straw inside Taian (only tea ceremony house produced by Rikyu in existence). When Rikyu-sama saw "Mozuya-guro", he smiled.

http://www.momak.go.jp/Japanese/exhibitionArchive/2016/417.htmlMOMAK HP)



Rikyu: That cheerful lion has become this morose tea bowl! I know, here squats down that lion with the mouth closed and the claws cut. YOU became MY shadow, the craftsman who serves my aesthetic sensedo you resent me?
Chojiro: Now way! I have become one flesh with you, the greatest seeker after beauty, and came to create the great lasting tea bowls. What a honor! And only you bids so high for my earthen vessels.
Rikyu: The price…. It is not that I want to earn money or that I want to make you earn money. The high price is the easiest way to make the world understand the worth of OUR new beauty (lol). The money is a scale, merely a scale. Lord Nobunaga used the tea ceremony for the politics. Lord Hideyoshi will make the money talk in the tea ceremony. But the way of tea will serve nothing. Liberté!


Golden Tea house (reconstruction) ordered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, probably produced by Sen no Rikyu

「醍醐 花見 図 屏風」の画像検索結果


is enjoying cherry-blossom-viewing at Daigo-ji Temple.
He ordered to transplant 1000 cherry trees in the precincts. (wiki)

(To be continued)
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# by snowdrop-nara | 2017-02-17 20:08 | | Trackback | Comments(2)

樂(らく)を生んだ男 上(A man who created Raku ware1)

http://www.momak.go.jp/Japanese/exhibitionArchive/2016/417.htmlMOMAK HP)





「永徳 lion」の画像検索結果
狩野永徳の唐獅子*Chinese Lion painted by Eitoku(wikipedia)

Happy Lion

WOoooo(I in Chinese)am a lion of ni-cai pottery on the roof having roots in Sothern Chinese san-cai and in Chinese-style Lion (e.g. KANO Eitoku’s : upper fig.). Wo was made by Chojiro (1516?-1589?), who is said to be a descendant of Chinese tiler, who grew in the atmosphere of the Age of Civil Wars and embodied in me his dynamic aesthetic sense of Azuchi period.

 You might ask meeeee (the lion is one of the big cats),
“Chojiro? He is a potter who founded Raku ware in Momoyama period, isn't he? A man who created the tea bowl for the tea ceremony together with Sen no Rikyu
1522-1591). A man who pursued Wabi-cha, the simple beauty in a typical Japanese style. Was he originally a foreigner and had made that flamboyant lion?”
 It's understandable for you to be surprised at that. Wo also am blown away that he came to make such plain tea bowls! Let’s listen to his monologue and dialogue with Sen no Rikyu.

Camellia, Raku teabowl and Scissors used in flower arrangement by SUZUKI Kiitsu (19c.) 『酒井抱一と江戸琳派の全貌』(求龍堂)




長次郎「獅子を殺ぐ ― 殺す…とは?」






「唐三彩 獅子 」の画像検索結果

参考:唐三彩の獅子(静嘉堂文庫)*San-cai Lions (Tang Dynasty)(google search)

Morose Tea bowl

On a day of drizzling rain in June, a man visited my atelier. He was Sen Soeki (Rikyu since 1585) , a master of tea of a ruler ODA Nobunaga (1534-1582). What did he want me, a descendant of Chinese tiler? He said that he had seen one of my lions.

Rikyu: To come to the point, could you kill your lion?

Chojiro: Kill my lionwhat do you mean?

Rikyu: I would like to ask you to quit your current production and to devote yourself to my requestto my tea bowls.

Chojiro: Your tea bowlsto be used in your tea ceremony?

Rikyu: Yes, the tea bowls to be used in my tea ceremony house, in the narrower and dimmer space than before.

Chojiro: But I am a tiler of sancai and I do not know about the potter's wheel.

Rikyu: You do not need the potter’s wheel, which produces the round bowl spreading out. What I want is the bowl towards the inside. You can mold it by hand like kneading that lion. But this is just the beginning. You should scrape it by a spatula. You should cut off the framboyant and dynamic elements of YOUR lion. I need the tea bowls specialized to make and drink ground green tea in MY dim tea ceremony house. A mere plain tea bowl cannot bear the pressure of MY tea ceremony house. It must be a tough and supple one that absorbs the pressure. Only YOU, a craftsman who has the continental power beyond the sea within the blood, can do that.

square tea bowl "Peeled Chestnut"



Il y a un bol “marron pelé”. On prepare des marrons chauds comme sucreries ?


The sweets in those days were chestnuts, pomegranate, kelp, shiitake mushroom, etc.

十五代楽吉左衛門作「吹馬」(左) * 初代長次郎作「大黒」(右)
Black Raku tea bowl, "Oguro" by Chojiro I (16c.) (right)
Black Raku tea bowl, "Horse blown by the Wind" by Raku Kichizaemon XV (1993) (left)

MOMAK by Lake Biwa Canal whose terrace is a part of the cafe-restaurant

(To be continued)
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# by snowdrop-nara | 2017-02-10 06:30 | | Trackback | Comments(0)

新春から立春へ(From New Spring to the First day of Spring)

Portuguese wine (Pheasant Label)*
Japanese sake (Spring Deer Label)



The first month of the new year has passed, and today is Setsubun (the day before the beginning of spring) in Japan. Snowdrop has opened a bottle of pure undiluted sake, one of Spring Deer labels, made and delivered by my friend. This fresh sake is made from Yamada-nishiki rice harvested in the paddy field around Mausoleum of Emperor Suinin. It tastes pleasant like the champagne and makes her sing a skolion (σκόλιον) in ancient Japan (its sounds are beyond my translation).

この御酒(みき)はわが御酒ならず 神酒(くし)の神常世(とこよ)に坐(いま)す 石立(いはた)たす少名御神(すくなみかみ)の 神寿(かむほ)ぎ寿き狂ほし 豊寿(とよほ)き寿き廻(もと)ほし 献(まつ)り来し御酒ぞ 涸(あさ)ず食(を)せ ささ

この御酒を醸(か)みけむ人は その鼓臼に立てて 歌ひつつ醸みけれかも 舞ひつつ醸みけれかも この御酒の御酒の あやに転楽(うたたぬ)し ささ





(When we drink the sake made of the rice around the mausoleum, we will live long like the dragging tail of the mountain pheasant.)

↑Some karuta are illustrated with the poets' portraits in this way.


 Kakinomoto-no-Hitomaro is said to have sung “
long like the dragging tail of the mountain pheasant”. According to ORIGUCHI Shinobu (1887–1953), an ethnologist, linguist, folklorist, poet, and novelist who wrote The Book of the Dead, Hitomaro is an embodiment of the troubadours in ancient Japan.
 TANABE Seiko calls the poet Hitomaro “Hitomaru-han” (“han” =”san”: a courtesy title), and tells us that Hitomaru Shrine in Akashi is a place for prayer for the protection against fire (hi tomaru) and for the safe childbirth (hito umaru).

Kakinomoto no Hitomaro painted by Hoitsu, inscription written by Tachibana Chikage (1807)


Hitomaro painted by SAKAI Hoitsu looks like a good-natured old man. TACHIBANA Chikage, a friend of Hoitsu, was a poet, calligrapher, and scholar who wrote a study of Manyo-shu including Hitomaro's poems. What a wonderful collaboration of a painter and a calligrapher! Simple, plain, and deep like a flavour of the sea bream…(and the perfect marriage with that fresh sake!)

Himeji City Museum of Art seen from White Egret [Heron] Castle (2015)
White Egret Castle seen from Himeji City Museum of Art (2016)


From Himeji Castle associated to Hoitsu, snowdrop had seen a modern red brick building, Himeji Museum of Art in 2015. This building was originaly built as an arsenal for Imperial Japanese Army in 1905. What a chouette collaboration of this Western-style red building (20 c.) and that Japanese white castle (16 c.) !

Owl, whose Chinese caracter consists of bird (鳥) and tree (木)

昨年暮れ、久々にこの美術館を訪ねました。抱一の鬼の絵(昨年の節分の記事 )や、弟子の鈴木其一のアヒルの絵が、snowdropを迎えてくれました。

Snowdrop visited this museum again last December. The ogre painted by Hoitsu and his disciple, Kiitsu’ s humorous ducks greeted her.
https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%88%B4%E6%9C%A8%E5%85%B6%E4%B8%80 (Kiitsu painted Morning Glory)

鈴木其一「水辺家鴨図」(部分)Ducks by the water, Suzuki Kiitsu (detail)

雉は野で 山鳥は山 (さと)飼ふ家鴨は 水辺で


「鈴木其一 描き表装」の画像検索結果

鈴木其一「三十六人歌仙図」描き表装(表装も手描き)(google search)
Thirty-six immortal poets and its mounting also painted by Suzuki Kiitsu

※ 節分の食卓など

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おまけ * Bonus * The heroine wears hakama-skirt (culottes)


# by snowdrop-nara | 2017-02-03 18:27 | | Trackback | Comments(2)

お聖さんと歩くキャンパス(Let' s go to the Women's University with Seiko T.!)




The image in a kaleidoscope started with a hydrangea, and several scarlet spots appeared to grow into a blooming rose.

Advertisement of Takarazuka Review in a train of Kintetsu Railway


TANABE Seiko (1928-) graduated from the Department of Japanese Literature of Shōin Joshi Senmon Gakkō (now Osaka Shoin Women's University) in 1947. While writing numerous novels and essays, she translated The Tale of Genji into modern language and often discusses Japanese classic literature. The first figure shows you two posters of Takarazuka Revue whose original are her novels.



Tanabe Seiko Literature Museum in the university owns some of her collection of dolls, kaleidoscopes, etc. These antique dolls stir our nostalgia for old days or longing for foreign countries.



There remain several beautiful buidings in the campus that cultivated aesthetic sense of the author.



But she studied here during the Second World War. She should have worn more often a monpe (work pants) than a hakama (a long pleated skirt worn over a kimono : below figure).



I saw a manuscript of the author in her school days, on Japanese view of life and death, in a neat hand.



The female students learned the science as well as the literature in those days also.



 A beautiful wooden furniture with a pair of stained glasses representing a little bird and a camellia reminds me of the study of the author reproduced in her Literature Museum (lower fig.).

Whenever the author falls into a slump, this big Snoopy encourages her (in her imagination). This flowery space surrounded by the glasswares, laceworks, kaleidoscopes, etc.it has been her sanctuary to recover her adolescence spent in the war.



There are several powder rooms designed by the students in this university. The author' s juniors also like lovely things.




(In several powder rooms designed by the students, I felt the same lingering fragrance as that in the study of the author reproduced in the campus. )




Left in the campus during spring vacation, what are you pointing, March Hare ? )「white rabbit stained glass  daresbury」の画像検索結果

Alice in Wonderland in Stained Glass at Oxford

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お聖さんと読む百人一首(Let' s read 100 Poems by 100 Poets with 3 authors !)






(あじきないこの世だ/物思いにふけるわが身に/人は あるときはいとしく/またあるときは憎らしく/思われる/―おお/うつうつと楽しまぬ人生に/愛憎こもごも/身のまわりに点滅する人間たち)(田辺聖子による現代語訳)


「[百人一首の選者、藤原]定家は、院の悲劇的な後半生を見たとき、この[承久の乱の9年前、33歳の院の]「述懐」のお歌を、院の人生の象徴のように思って採ったのかもしれない。この歌の物憂い暗さ、それでいて、ちょっと一抹、しゃれた味のただよう気分、陰気なシャンソンでも聞くようである」(『田辺聖子の小倉百人一首』)([ ]はsnowdrop補注)


モネ「荒れた海」 * Claude MONET, Taschen















The folding screen of Thirty-six Immortal Poets by Sakai Hoitsu (detail)

Snowdrop went to Tanabe Seiko Literature Museum in Osaka Shoin Women’s University to see the exhibition on Ogura Hyakunin Isshu compiled by Fujiwara-no-Teika. How about having a glimpse of this most famous anthology of waka with those three books (1st fig.) that she has read since New Year’s Day? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogura_Hyakunin_Isshu

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu read with Tanabe Seiko often refers to the book written by Oda Shokichi. According to Oda, this anthology is not a collection of masterpieces but a waka cycle for soothing the raging soul of Go-Toba (1180–1239) who was exiled to the Oki Islands after Jōkyū War (1221). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Go-Toba

Tantôt je regrette les gens, tantôt je hais les gens, pour moi, un homme qui est absorbé dans ses pensées, la vie est ennuyeuse. (par Go-Toba, the 99th waka in Ogura Hyakunin Isshu) (traduction de snowdrop)

This waka translated into modern Japanese by Tanabe Seiko sounds like a chanson.

Oda shows another waka by Go-Toba, like an enka (
Japanese traditional style ballad) or utai (noh chant) filled with the ressentiment.

Je suis un nouveau gardien des Îles Oki, des vents de la mer agitée, soufflez attentivement! (par Go-Toba) (traduction de snowdrop)

TSUKAMOTO Kunio, an exponent underground tanka poet, judged Ogura Hyakunin Isshu as the collection of poor works and selected by himself other 100 waka made by the same 100 poets. He chose the following waka among Go-Toba’s.

Les fleurs de cerisiers en Yoshino sont tomb
ées, l’ aube de printemps d’orage blanc! (par Go-Toba) (traduction de snowdrop)

What a distance between these two waka made by the same person!

Go-Toba made waka as follows, which reminds us of that famous one attributed to Kakinomoto-no-Hitomaro. When choosing Hitomaro’s as the third waka in the anthology, Teika might have kept this Go-Toba’s one in mind, I suppose.

The various colours of distant mountains with cherry blossoms are so beautiful that I am not tired even if I admire them all day long like the dragging tail of the mountain pheasant.
by Go-Toba(translation of snowdrop)

Must I sleep alone through the long autumn nights, long like the dragging tail of the mountain pheasant separated from his dove? (attributed to Kakinomoto-no-Hitomaro, the third waka in Ogura Hyakunin Isshu(translation of wikipedia)

The Japanese national championship competitive karuta tournament (karuta from Portuguese carta) takes place at Omi Shrine, Shiga.

Several photos taken by snowdrop in Tanabe Seiko Literature Museum and in Osaka Shoin Women’s University will be published in the next article.

キャンパス内の一室で*a room in the university

(To be continued)

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雨過天青(the blue sky after storm)



If it is fine, I will go to that museum to see narcissus basins. Snowdrop woke up and looked up the pale blue sky. She started for the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka. The museum owns one narcissus basin from Ru kilns in the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127). And presently five other ones (one of which is made in the Qing dynasty, 1644-1912) have come to Japan and gathers in one room in the museum! http://www.moco.or.jp/en/(The Museum of Oriental Ceramics HP)

First she saw the basin of the museum after a long interval. The mouth rim has been bound with a copper band in order to cover the slightly trimmed lip for removing the small chip. An iron speck is visible on the outside of the mouth rim, which is a defect but in this case adds charm to the ware like a beauty spot.




(A crowned beauty with a charming mole has waited for five old friends beyond the sea.)




青瑪瑙と、薄氷のような貫入(『宋磁』東洋陶磁美術館 見返し)



The bluish-green glaze compared to “the blue sky after rain” contains the ash of plants and the feldspar. In the case of the glaze of Ru kilns, the agate also. Here is the blue lace agate [chalcedony] snowdrop bought in Mongolia. It looks like the crystal of the blue sky and gray clouds.

You often find the crackles formed during cooling the glaze. It is generally not the defects but a kind of the beauty. But the one with almost no crackles (“uncrackled”) is regarded as the most splendid work among Ru celadons. While the glaze that thins in places reveals a faint pinkish colour unique to Ru ware, the part of the area in which the glaze has been pooled shows an elegant blue-green tone. Such portions look like a pink and green rainbow but it is invisible in these photos. Tant pis!

the finest ceramic work of art in the world, on a red sandalwood stand






Six celadon narcissus basins have gathered here like six petals of a narcissus.


 Qianlong Emperor(r.1735-1796favored the Ru celadons in the collection of the Qing court, and he had his own poem engraved on the base of excellent works and gave red sandalwood stands with gilt decoration. He regarded them as the mirror to reflect the soul of the emperor. This “uncrackled” one (upper fig.) has been appraised as ”the divine work” or “the finest ceramic work of art in human history” until today.

 The poem by Qianlong as well as the documents of the Qing court mentions that the narcissus basin was commonly called “cat’s [dog (puppy)’s] food bowl” at that time. While there are examples of a Qing-dynasty painting that depict a narcissus basin used as a tray for a miniature landscape or for bulbous plants such as narcissus, the true usage during the Northern Song dynasty remains a mystery. Were they the ritual and symbolic basins for some sacred purpose? Or were they a kind of holy water vessels for purifying the noble’s hands?


北宋青磁に学んで生まれた高麗青磁の壺(部分)(『高麗青磁への誘い』東洋陶磁美術館)*Celadon jar with three handles (Koryo) (detail)

(黒ネコさま: Chat Noirの投歌) 





南宋の()の snowdrop

「青磁 鳳凰耳花生 東洋陶磁美術館 wiki」の画像検索結果

青磁鳳凰耳花生 南宋時代(東洋陶磁美術館)(wikipedia)
Celadon flower base with handle of a phoenix (Sothern Song dynasty)


You can see the celadon works of Koryo (dynasty of Korea; 918-1392) and of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279) also in other rooms. The former is under the influence of Ru celadons and snowdrop found the similar faint pinkish colour in some works. The latter’s graze became thicker and the colour more greenish (upper fig.). The degree of perfection of the shape are common between the Northern and Southern Song dynasties.

The Museum of Oriental Ceramics in the morning


Leaving the museum, snowdrop felt the building itself is a tray to store the beautiful Oriental ceramics. When she looked up a Japanese bead tree or chinaberry near the Sendan (chinaberry; Persian lilac) Bridge, she found clouds in the sky that had been all blue in the morning. It seemed likely to snow. She crossed Yodoya-bashi Bridge and hurried home.


Osaka City Central Hall (upper f.) from Sendan (chinaberry) Bridge (lower f.)




With several Chinese visitors who had seen the five bassins in Taiwan, I observed the one that has been handed down in Japan.


淀屋橋*Yodoya-bashi Bridge

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2017-01-21 06:01 | | Trackback | Comments(1)

若冲とめぐる錦市場(Nishiki Market Tour with Jakuchu)


石上神宮*Isonokami Shrine, Nara(2014)
Coqs sans rapport avec Grippe



The cocks painted by Jakuchu are playing in the
shrine garden, how colorful!



This is the year of the Rooster, according to the Chinese zodiac. Do you remember the roosters painted by ITO Jakuchu (1716-1800) ? Last year, snowdrop visited Nishiki Market around which the painter was born 300 years before. While talking with foreign travellers and Asian salesgirls, she listened to the voice of that painter also!



Jakuchu: I was born in a wholesale green-grocer in Kyoto. I can paint various traditional vegetables in Kyoto, even their worm-eaten holes, even if I close my eyes! Oops! I must sell our vegetables as well as sketch them!



The most unique still life I painted is the below one, Scene of Buddha's Nirvana by Vegetables. Oh, it is not a joke! Only I had my first dream of the year: the vegetables playing the scene of Buddha's Nirvana…what a strange dream! Is it because I had been developing the idea for a new painting for Nirvana Day on February 15?

「蔬菜涅槃 pinterest」の画像検索結果 伊藤若冲「蔬菜涅槃図」(pinterest)


The Tanba chestnut, the matsutake mushroom, Japanese-style pickles, etc.…not only the food of the mountains…




http://www.nga.gov/feature/jakuchu/haiku/scrolls.shtm (Jakuchu & Haiku)



…but also the products of the sea preserved in the clean ground water, such as octopus, shellfish, and the tilefish with a prominent forehead !



Yuck? These warty legs of octopuses…. You know, the octopus is a good luck charm! "Octopus"="Tako"="Many (ta:多) Happiness(kou:幸)" How about these cooked one in a dish of a museum cafe? The soymilk is kneaded into the linguine. The contrast of the red tomato sauce and the green Mangan-ji pepper is beautiful.



Hop! Save the fun of the lunch for later! First you had better walk through the market. Do not forget worshipping at the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine, please!



Do you remember that Tenmangu Shrines are dedicated to SUGAWARA no Michizane? This bull statue also is shiny like those in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and Rudolph the Red-Nosed !



This pastry chef is a Japanese, and a salesgirl an international student from Taiwan. You spring chickens, good luck! Be careful with the flu in winter!



When snowdrop bought these sweets made from beans, Japanese omelette, spring onions, etc., a greengrocer gave her a special paper bag for Jakuchu's 300th birthday anniversary. Good for you!


その日は錦市場づくしの夕ご飯どした。Nishiki Market Dinner in 2016 !




(Ce chat appelle d' un geste de la main vos sourires qui éclairent le nouvel an.)



Dry sweets in the shape of cock, sea bream, peony, etc.in 2017

Est -ce que vous trouvez un chien aussi ?

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初春の歌合*梅(Our first uta-match*Plum blossoms)

枝垂れ梅と目白*Weeping plum and Japanese white-eye (2016)



The sky brightening vaguely, silent plum blossoms dye it earnestly with their fragrance, without words.

(Chat Noir, translation of snowdrop)

飛鳥より二上山、畝傍山をのぞむ * Asuka (Flying Bird), Nara (2013)



(Des petits
boutons d or comme clochettes de Chimonanthus praecox
, les remplit le parfum frais et dense.)


七草がゆRice porridge with seven spring herbs












Here is a photo of piko
one of my blog-friendsin Japanese kimono like a bird playing among plum branches. It seems to be our photo-match*Plum blossoms...

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2017-01-07 10:17 | | Trackback | Comments(5)

新年(にひどし)の飾り(New Year's Ornaments)

Mochi in the shape of flower petal and Camellia sazanqua in our garden

「餅花 pinterest」の画像検索結果



Happy New Year! Please enjoy our rice-cake (mochi) sweets to celebrate New Year. This cake reminds snowdrop of Japanese traditional ornaments called Mochi-hana (flower).

de Mortofontaine
par Corot (detail)(Louvre HP)



 In fact, there is a New Year's ornament like this in the West also: A bundle of mistletoe with white fruits similar to white mochi, under which people celebrate New Year. The mother and children in the above Corot' s painting are trying to get mistletoes.
 Snowdrop was informed of a French Haiku that compares the white fruits to New Year. Please enjoy this rich link and snowdrop's translation into tanka. Merci beaucoup, Dominique et ses amis!

オリジナルの仏語俳句*Original haiku and illustration



Yadorigi ha maaruku mashiroki mi wo musubu
maatarashiku kuru toshi no gotoku ni
)(translation into tanka by snowdrop)

「gui pinterest bonne annee」の画像検索結果

Au gui, l' an neuf !   (pinterest)


There are mistletoes in Japan also. The people in the Nara period called this evergreen plant "hoyo (yadorigi) " and put it in their hair as a hairpin in order to pray the longevity.

安之比奇能 夜麻能許奴礼能 保与等理天 可射之都良久波 知等世保久等曽

あしひきの山の木末(こぬれ)のほよ取りてかざしつらくは千年寿(ちとせほ)くとぞ 大伴家持 萬葉集巻十八4136

(あしひきの)山の梢のほよを取って、挿頭にしているのは、千年の寿命を祝う心からだ  (新日本古典文学大系 岩波書店)

「pinterest やどりぎ」の画像検索結果


 Snowdrop' s father would eat around 1940-50s these marble-like fruits of mistletoe like the chewing gum. He lived in a countryside where American soldiers never came to give their chewing gums to Japanese children…
 Thank you for your visits in New Year. I hope that I taste well every day of this year also with you, my dear guests who always have inspired me.

「マルカワ グレープマーブルガム 4粒」の画像検索結果

Marukawa Marble gum since 1959(pinterest)
Paper ornaments in the shape of cock coc, coc, coc… cocorico, coquerico !

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鳥居の隣の教会で(Japanese style Church beside Torii)



Beside Grand Torii, an Anglican Church was established in 1936. It was designed by OKI Kichitaro, the carpenter who had planned Nara Christ Church also in 1930. During Advent and Christmas, a big tree is changed into a Christmas tree.

桃山基督教会*Momoyama Christ Church


Looking up the entrance, one finds a cross and roofing tiles with cross pattern. A pair of doves and olives also are embossed. The carpenter used the same tiles as those of Nara Christ Church.



The ground floor is the hall. There were Christmas ornaments on the wall.



The chapel is upstairs.Though it is smaller than that of Nara Christ Church, the peaceful brightness is common. One difference between two churches is this boat-shaped ceiling, which reminds me of those in a church at the middle of a Scandinavian fishing village. The church is often compared to the boat or the ark.



The priestess lights the candles on Advent Wreath.
The Crucifix is in Kamakura carving. This Jesus image wears the vestment with grapevine design, which symbolizes the Resurrection.




Jesus is on the cross but in vestiment this crucifix looks more calm for my eyes and soul.



Through the old yellow glass shoji-windows, golden light streams in. Several star-shaped ornaments are swaying in the wind outside the window. The wooden harmonium plays the hymns peacefully

オルガンの音はこんな感じでした。(Lutheran KUMAMOTO Church, Kyushu)

桃山教会と大鳥居*Momoyama Christ Church and Grand Torii



Just like Kindergartners, Cross, Torii, and Cintamani stand by each other friendly.

Nara Christ Church (left) and Kofuku-ji Temple (right)

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お寺の隣の教会で(Japanse style Church beside Temple)

奈良基督教会*Nara Episcopal Church


One, two, one, two… a child in the white bear costume was going up the stairs with her parents. When she reached the top, an illuminated Nativity Stable (Creche) welcomed her. The Holy Family, the real family, my friend who has started a family, all of them were in the colorful light.




My friend who is looking at the Holy Family in the warm light, has been married for six months.




This is Nara Episcopal Church, a church building in Japanese style, in the precincts of Kofuku-ji Temple. In the Meiji era, the Western style church was not adopted in order to protect the typical Japanese landscape of Nara park. This is why such a unique architecture was built. The designer was OKI Kichitaro, a christian carpenter specializing in temple, shrine, etc.



This Christmas wreath is bigger than that snowdrop saw several years ago.



These Japanese tiles are with the design of a pair of doves and of a cross-centered flower. These charming tiles are used in another Japanese style church designed by the same carpenter (you can see them next time) .



My entering the church, a baptismal font was at the end, in the calm sunlight. You can find a dove-design on it, too. The relief of Lamb of God looks gentle. This church is an Episcopal one.



This Christmas ornament was made of ears of rice instead of wheat. How Japanesque it is! I have never seen this kind of ornament elsewhere, before or since.



Through the shoji windows instead of stained-glass ones, soft winter light was streaming in. The lamps had cross patterns on them.



The church building was completed in 1930, roofed with Japanese tiles and having the wall with exposed timber pillars. The interior is in the style of sukiya, an architectural style based on that of the Japanese tea ceremony building.




A German pipe organ of Werner Bosch was installed in 1987, commemorating the 100th anniversary. You can enjoy the profound sounds in Sunday services, concerts, etc.



They say that this is a list showing the numbers of the hymns during that day's service.



Twelve-lobed mirror decorated on the back with gold and cloisonnē enamel(Shosoin Treasure House)and Japanese style Xmas card


The cross in the altar is cloisonne ware with a Shoso-in treasure s design, which is used on one of the below arrowroot dry candies (pale green one).



The above mauve one is in the shape of a glass cup in Shosoin. The sake cup that snowdrop found at Haru-shika (Spring Deer) Brewer resembles another cup in Shosoin, doesn't it?


64,60回正倉院展ポスターより Glass cup in Shosoin Repository

「正倉院 白瑠璃碗」の画像検索結果



Ce qui remplie la coupe blanche, c’ est le vin céleste qui apaise la soif des âmes des gens.

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-12-16 20:06 | | Trackback | Comments(2)

なにわ橋づくし+灯りづくし(Ponts en Osaka avec Illuminations)



Chut! une estamp de Sharaku dit, Shut up!, parce que je n entends pas bien à cause de bruits des véhicules et de votre voix, l élégie des ponts d Osaka!" Je m appelle OTANI Oniji III, un kabuki acteur que Sharaku peignit. Kabuki et Bunraku sont des divertissements dethéâtre de la période Edo, de temps en temps celui-ci influait sur celui-là. C est pour ça que je suis venu à un pay du Bunraku, Osaka!

「歌舞伎 時雨の炬燵」の画像検索結果

歌舞伎「天網島時雨炬燵」*Kabuki version(google search)


En Osaka, des maîtres riches souvent sur le pont hésitaient s
ils doivent aller à Kabuki ou Bunraku. Le pontil me rappelle Elegie des Ponts dans Suicides d'amour à Amijima par CHIKAMATSU Monzaemon. L’histoire s’ inspire d’ un fait réel qui se passa seulement deux mois avant. La rapidité comme SNS !


『文楽』平凡社 BUNRAKU


Regardez ! C’ est un faible ! Jihei a du regret pour une courtisane Koharu et pleure sur le kotatsu (le 2e acte). Sa femme, Osan dit d’ un ton de reproche,

Pleure, pleure, tes larmes se jetteront dans la Shijimi et Koharu les puisera et boira.

Le résumé des acteshttps://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicides_d%27amour_%C3%A0_Amijima



Enfin, Jihei et Koharu ont décidé
à se suicider ensemble. Ils marchaient la nuit le long d’ une rivière de Sonezaki-shinchi vers l’ est. Aujourd’ hui la Shijimi et le pont Shijimi sont déjà disparus dans la mer d’ immeubles-tours. Nous marchons du pont Oe.



Le pont Cristal, ex-seuil pour épurer de l' eau.



Le pont Hokonagasi est sous une autoroute, comme le pont Nihonbashi en Edo! On transfé
ra l’ autoroute de celui-ci avant les JO de Tokyo 2020 ?




Le pont Naniwa ornée de statues de lions, avec la rose Osaka! On vous montra un jour des roses au Nakanoshima Rose Garden cet automne.

天神橋*le pont Tenjin


天神橋から西を望む * Du pont Tenjin


Il y avait la maison de Jihei et Osan au nord du pont Tenjin. Sur ce pont, il regarda en arrière, des ponts qu’ il avait passé avec Koharu. Aujourd’hui, on n’ a plus de vue dégagée.


八軒屋船着場と常夜燈 * All-night light at Hachikenya Harbour



八軒屋の常夜燈のそばで、平成の母子連れに会った。京と大阪を結ぶ三十石船の船着き場だ。ここを治兵衛は「子供の行方 女房の哀れ」を胸に歩く…天満橋が見えてきた。舟遊び日和だねえ。

Jai vu une mère et son enfant de l' ère Heisei au Hachikenya Harbor. C’ était un quai pour des bateaux qui reliait Kyoto et Osaka. Jihei pensa à son enfant et sa femme ici …!Le pont Temma apparaît, quel beau temps pour une promenade en bateau !

Joruri (without puppets) boat near Temma painted by KITANI Chigusa (1895-1947), a painter who studied paintings in New York at the age of twelve (日本経済新聞*The Nikkei)


今日は本当に小春日和だ。「小春」、そう、治兵衛と心中した遊女の名前よ。「小春」は神無月、十月の季語なんだってね。治兵衛はおさんと暮らす家の「炬燵」に飽き足らず、「時雨」のようにめそめそ泣いた挙句、外へ「小春」を求めに出た…「網島」の「天の網」は心中した二人をすくい取って、極楽往生させてくれただろうか。― そいつぁオレにも分からねえや。

Aujourd’hui, c’est l’été de Koharu, mais non, de Saint-Martin! Koharu veut dire le petit printemps en japonais, un mot de saison (kigo) au mois d’ octobre. Jihei pleulait comme une pluie d’ automne sur le kotatsu chez lui et fit une fugue pour chercher le petit printemps. Le filet du ciel (Ten-no-Ami) sauva et porta à paradis ce couple coupable? Je ne sais pas, je ne sais pas…!

Tenjin Bridge from Temma Bridge, an all-night light at the far left



Although the all-night lights were burning, their way should have been dark because of the veil of the tears of that mother and child.

不夜城のような師走の梅田駅 * Umeda Station, a nightless city, Osaka


One of the display windows of Hankyu Department Store
☆Hundred Gnomes’ Xmas☆

(google search)


-okoshi, a local speciality of Osaka, a kind of hard biscuit made of rice, starch syrup, ginger, sesame, etc. The mastication sound is compared to the canal-digging (rock-blasting) sound. It was one of the favorite sweets of my mother.

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(History of Bridges in Osaka)


# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-12-10 06:58 | | Trackback | Comments(1)

やまとの庭へようこそ(Welcome to the gardens in Nara and Kyoto)



There is a pond named Great Buddha Pond in Nara, the most ancient capital in Japan. The pond has reflected the hall of Todai-ji Temple, has been a landmark to Shoso-in, the treasure house of the temple, and has been a pool for deer during the summer. The temple usually has its own pond in order to keep the water for extinguishing fires.




The nostalgia for the ginkgo that I loved in my youth, which made me invite my friend to the edge of the pond where it stood.



Joruri-ji Temple is between Nara and Kyoto, whose garden expresses the concept of Pure Land in the Heian period. When we walk along the pond from the three-storied pagoda to the main hall, here we are in Paradise! This suggested route symblises the process that a man goes from this world guarded by Bhaisajyaguru (buddha able to cure all ills) to the other world ruled by Amitabha Tathagata (buddha receiving the people into Pure Land). This garden is always beautiful in four seasons, and especially in autumn, both the pagoda and the hall are surrounded by dazzling colours and light.




In the temple filled with red maple leaves, a gray Siamese cat walks along the gray roofing tiles as if he owned the place.



In the pond, a monster-like carp with an ephemeral maple leave like a fan…



This is not a monster but a stone lantern in Yoshiki-en, a garden made in 1919 in Nara. The lantern looks like an oneeyed goblin with an inflamed eye!



You see the goblin over there. Which composition do you prefer ?



Both in Yoshiki-en and in Isui-en (a neighboring garden of Yoshiki-en) , you can enjoy various tastes of a pond-garden with different angles to be observed. How idyllic a scene of a
water mill with a thatched-roof beside the pond! These gardens no longer symbolize a Buddhist concept. The back garden of Isui-en (the Meiji period) makes use of the surrounding landscape of the Great South Gate of Todai-ji Temple and Mount Wakakusa in its design. What a spacious and pastoral garden!

水鏡(依水園)* Isui-en*the back garden made in the Meiji era


The left red bush is
azalea japonica. Do you remember its white flowers like lily bells?

満天星秋) * Azalea japonica
満天星(春)* Azalea japonica


(maple) derives from Kaeru-de (frog’s hand), whose small cinquefoil resembles a palm of a child, too.



Let’s take a tea break at this café with black wall! While seeing foundation stones of the Great West Gate of Todaiji-Temple in the yellow and red leaves, fresh and warm puddinglike arrowroot cakes were served. We bought the arrowroot dry candies in the shape of a mirror, a wineglass, etc. in Shosoin (the Treasure House of Todai-ji Temple) for each family.


葛餅(Pudding‐like arrowroot cake, Tea cup with arrowroot flower design)

葛湯(arrowroot gruel, a hot and sweet Japanese beverage)(天極堂HP)
「天極堂 葛湯」の画像検索結果


Do you find a deer in the bottom of this wine-cup filled with Japanese unrefined nouveau wine? The arrowroot flowers (illustration) are similar to clusters of grapes, aren't they?





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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-12-01 06:45 | | Trackback | Comments(4)




Monologue of Seiho: As my mother could not live to be over fifty, I could not eighty. The numerals are mysteriousthey can be the milestones in our minds, and can be the unbreakable glass wall also.That’ s enough, you have lived and painted enough. A heavenly maiden whispers in my ear. …No, this voice sounds more familiar. It is that of my beloved siste, Koto! My sister is smiling in a heavenly maiden’s garments! Beautiful sounds of a koto-harp, floating lotus petals in the lotus-smelling wind.

「muse brancusi」の画像検索結果

ブランクーシ「ミューズ」* Muse by Constantin Brancusi (pinterest)


Sister, thank you, and sorry! Though I wanted to tell her when she died at the age of fifty-three, I couldn’t. It was too late when I ran to her. She did not open her eyes. Her fingers I held, her breast, and her face was getting colder little by little. Only her smile remained. Her lips in the shape of the crescent like that of the heavenly maidens I had paintedlike that of the Bodhisattvas in Descent of Amida and the Heavenly Multitude in Mount Koya, like a Noh mask Zoh-onna, the lips looked to be telling me more eloquently than the words, “I am quite satisfied.”


わても、そう思うて旅立とう。「本望どす」― ついに完成することのなかった東本願寺の飛天の天井画。そのまぼろしは、わての心に満ちている。それはわてを彼岸へ導くための、イデア。人の手で完成することがないからこそ、人を超えた力で人を導くもの。いま、わてが空中に指で描き続けている散華は、芙蓉の花びらや ― おや、わての右手をお姉はんが、わての左手を小春が取ってくれた。人の齢(よわい)の数字の坂より、もっと険しうて、もっと高みを目指す坂を、わてはこうして越えてゆくんか。一羽の鳳のように…わてはわてでなくなり、誰かでもなくなり、どこにいるかも定かでなくなる…非人情は悟りに、涅槃に通じるんやろか?わては消え、絵だけが残る― 潔い!これ以上なにを望もう。

I also leave this world while saying, “I am quite satisfied.” The ceiling painting of heavenly maidens in Higasi-Hongan-ji Temple that I could not complete to the last, which fill my mind. It is IDEA to lead me to Heaven. What is never completed by the man, and what leads the man with superhuman power. The petals that I am painting now in the air are cottonflowers’. Oh, my sister holds my right hand and Koharu my left hand! Am I being on the other side of a more steep and high wall than the numerical one in this way, like a phoenix? I am no longer Seiho, I am no longer someone else, this certain something doesn’t know where it is. “Detachment” might lead to the enligntenment (satori) or the nirvana? While I disappear, the paintings only remain. Simple! Need anything else?





White Christmas * Nakanoshima Rose Garden





(Over the madonna blue sky where the flower petals are floating, my gentle sister is smiling like a flower. )

「madonna raphael san sisto」の画像検索結果


It will be Advent from tomorrow. 


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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-11-26 06:44 | | Trackback | Comments(0)

闘う老画家(a fighting old painter)

Colorful Fish (1938)
Fruits of the Sea (1942)


Here are two paintings of sea breams painted by Seiho. The one in his later years is more detailed, e.g., white ventral fins and spotted caudal fins (2nd fig.). The blue blood vessels above the eyes are more brilliant, and their bodies are more wet and glistening. What the painter tried to express was these fish's colours, the vivid red, bright blue, etc.

鱗を取った鯛*Sea beams whose scales have been removed

(およげ!たいやきくん ♪ Swim! Fish‐shaped pancake filled with bean jam !)




Seiho painted this Fruits of the sea at the age of seventy-nine and said to his son.
”Though I have painted lots of sea breams, I have not known how to paint the scales. At last I have found that this time!”
 He did not stop observing with fresh eyes and painting creatively to the end.

The painter who had been recovering from his illness in that spring, also said,
“Somehow I have lived to be seventy-nine. If I survive until next year, I’ m going to be eighty. The imagination makes me happy that I can sign on my painting “octogenarian”. I feel as if the permission was given to me to paint anything freely
I wish to paint something that others would have a hard time understanding what it is.”

 But he could not live to be over eighty.

「平和」*Piece (1939)


Seiho’s later years were with the wars. One month before the outbreak of the Second World War, he painted peaceful rabbits as if he had resisted a bad hunch. When the war began to threaten the paiter’s freedom, he painted Fruits of the sea (/land) implying characters of Japanese myths. A Japanese tit shivering in a drizzling rain is watched over by the painter’s gentle gaze. This year Seiho came down with pneumonia.


「しぐるる池」*Pond in a Shower (1941)


Spring Snow was painted in his last year. A crow is resting at the bow of a Japanese boat and puffing out its drenched feathers. Though he looks cold, we feel the warmth of his life also. The falling snow is not the hibernal powder one but the vernal wet one. Spring is just around the corner. Do you find the crow lonely? Now that he has survived the long winter, here is a peace of mind that has pierced through the loneliness, isn't it?

「春雪」* Spring Snow (1942)


Seiho’s essence was never blurred by neither the tumultuous world, nor the trends of the art world, nor his rival YOKOYAMA Taikan, the cowinner of the first Order of Culture in 1937. Seiho was constantly an unwavering phoenix. What the phoenix was fighting against might have been the phoenix himself. He was a phoenix who was always aiming higher every day, every time.

「若き家鴨」* Young Ducks (1937)
Their webbed feet resemble ginkgo leaves.



(I do not concern the noise in the world. I will drop off a doze inthis golden light this afternoon.)



If there had not been the war, if Seiho had lived to be over eighty, what would he have painted? His favorite sparrows? No, it should have been "something that others would have a hard time understanding what it is". It might have been something like an abstract painting by his favorite Turner.

「jmw turner」の画像検索結果

ターナー「ノラム城 日の出」*Norham Castle, Sunrise by Turner (pinterest)


Mariage between grilled sea breams and Japanese nouveau wine (unrefined) like the white wine from the Rhine, in a graduated German wineglass!


(つづく*To be continued)

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-11-19 15:28 | | Trackback | Comments(2)

けものたちのおしゃべり(Chat by Dog and Deer)

竹内栖鳳「清閑」* 栖鳳は「チチアンのビーナス」(下図)を愛した。
Tranquility by Seiho (c.1935)



of Urbino by Titian, Galleria degli Uffizi (detail)



Si vous touchez Venus par Titien, vous trouverez sa peau comme velours! Un chien vous murmure dans le drap.

「ufizzi 1900 photo」の画像検索結果 
Galleria degli Uffizi,1900-1904, pinterest




I am a dog. I have my name, Misao (Chastity). A Venezian painter painted me in the Renaissance period. I might look carefree, and yet I am a symbol of the feminine virtue! When I am sleeping in this way, attention!, someone may try to violate my mistress’ chastity!!!!!

A Japanese painter who had observed me in the museum went back to his homeland and thirty five years later painted another dog. Though he changed the direction of the dog’s head, it rang a bell! This dog is a reincarnation of Chastity of Venus! But this is not sexyand you find neither his mistress nor the background in this painting. Only the peaceful atmosphere is common.
 They say that Japan was leading in the opposite direction of the peace at that time. The artists were being taken away the freedom of expression. This painting looks calm at a glance, but I feel the anxiety about the future here. Does the painter miss the good old days in Europe and in Japan in the early twentieth century? Or am I reading into it too much?

「和暖」(部分)*Spring Deer (detail)
「夏鹿」(部分)*Summer Deer (detail)




Now it's time for a quiz from a deer in Nara Park! Here are two paintings by one painter, TAKEUCHI Seiho. One was painted when he was sixty and the other after an interval of twelve years. Which one is painted first?

In the first paintng, we Japanese deer are relaxed in a spring field. You find few contour lines but only fine lines to express our body hair and white spots. Their volume and warmth invite me to get close to them and feel relaxed. Do you find this one more mature, don’t you?

In the second painting, deer in summer fur are walking excitedly in the plain background. In fact, this one was painted twelve years later than the first! ―Mature? My Spring Deer in 1924? It was tooooo early for me to become mature and then to wither! What do you think of my Summer Deer?! ― Oops! Maestro Seiho are still in high spirits! This year (1936), another maestro in Tokyo, YOKOYAMA Taikan painted dragons, which many people compared with Seiho’ s deer. But even his simple title Summer Deer is quite different from Taikan’s flying dragons symbolizing the emperor! I know that Maestro Seiho was painting freely and being aloof from the world.



You find here rough and remarkable outlines rather than the fine lines in Spring Deer. Every outline is powerful and simple, without any waste. Look! The deer that has just jumped, his plump belly, bending legs. Having a rahter heavy body, we deer must strain ourselves when jamping. As a result, our tales stand up. The tale of a fawn before suckling and of a deer walking this side also stand tight because they are on alert.


 さすが老先生、ボクらのことがよく見えているね。まるで若返ったような筆づかいだけど…若描きと違うで。老練の省筆やから、できるんや― 先生の笑い声が聞こえる。たしかに、若描きなら、こんなに確かに、大胆に、線を選び抜くことはできないだろうなあ。

Our lives are not so peaceful as you might imagine, even the deer in Nara and Itsukushima regarded as the messenger of the deity. We live on the edge. A narrow-sighted fawn while suckling is a soft target for a stray dog. An old or lame deer sometimes cannot dogde a car. A hungry deer often eats plastic bags and clogs his first stomach

That is worthy of Maestro, he observes us very well, and yet his brush strokes look rejuvenated…Oh no, a young painter never paints like this! Only a veteran painter can narrow down the lines! Maestro is laughing. He is right! Only the old master can daringly and prudently select the lines in this way.

霜の飛火野(Nara, 1990s)



(You, a suckling fawn pushing up Mama's belly, you need not know her pain.)


厳島のポスター*Poster in Japonism style at Itsukushima, Hiroshima (2011)


Voici une affiche du japonisme, le héros c’ est moi, un cerf divin.(2014)

奈良公園の掲示板 * Notice Boards in Nara Park (2016, 2015)

(つづく*To be continued)
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHWKQQhhD3A おまけ* Bonus


# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-11-12 06:47 | | Trackback | Comments(0)

いとしや小春 下(Koharu, ma belle2)

「日本郵船 丹波丸」の画像検索結果
丹波丸 (II)(1959年)日本郵船歴史博物館HPより



 I departed for Nagasaki half in doubt. I even told a lie that I had to visit my home for family reasons. Wandering in the strange town and asked the way to Nagasaki Port over and over again, at last I reached the goal. After several hours, Tamba-maru of NYK Line has entered into the port solemnly. Lots of people were leaving the ship. The old in formal wear consisting of a crested kimono and a hakama, the men in lounge suit, the women in kimono, the children led by the handwhy are there so many people other than Maestro?

 Oh, Maestro Seiho! He does not wear a flock coat! He is in the familiar haori coat and is waving his hand to me quietly so as not to attract others’ attentions.

“Koharu, you really has come all the way from Kyoto to Nagasaki! Let’s hurry before someone in the ship sees us!”

長崎の坂*one of the slopes in Nagasaki(BS11)






Maestro took my hand and began to go up a stone pavement. While walking the steep slope out of breath, I felt as if we had gone back to our youth in a single leap. Though there are many European-style buildings in a port town Nagasaki, we chose a
conspicuous off-street restaurant-hotel in Japanese style. When we opened a sliding screen window upstairs, the sea was shining like a blue sash over rows of houses.

: Oh, I sit with my legs crossed on tatami-mat after a long interval! I really was able to come back to Japan across that ocean! While walking in this half‐Japanese, half‐Western town, I felt as if I had moved from the West to the East in a single leap!

Koharu: Maestro, I dare say you must be tired! How about ordering some local dishes? Or you have a rest alone for a while?

Seiho: No, thank you. My mind is filled with what I have seen and heard in abroad, I am so excited that I cannot sleep. Do you suppose what I have seen? The West. And JAPON the West has seen.

Koharu: JAPON?

James Tissot -
La Japonaise au bain (1864)






: Nippon with Fuji-yama, Geisha, and Hokusai! (lol) I wanted show you the Japanese women painted in oils by Western painters. The ukiyo-e in tooo rich colours! A fair-skinned tall woman with long legs stands slovenly, putting on her kimono over her shoulders like a bathrobe

Koharu: Bathrobe?

Seiho: She is slipping on a gorgeous kimono as if it were a yukata, besides, without an obi-sash!

Koharu: Sounds odd

Seiho: Or a blond lady smiling in a red bridal kimono with a tricolor fan in her hand

Koharu: Dazzling

Seiho: Probably they are Japan seen from the West. While the West is elusive for us Japanese, Japan must be vague and odd for the Westerner. But I felt the painter's vivid curiosity as if the man with blue eyes had taken my arms and asked ” What do you think of my painting?”

「monet la japonaise」の画像検索結果
Monet-La Japonaise (1876)



: You also must have looked at various things full of curiosity.

Seiho: Yes, but I’ ve found myself being a Japanese to the boneI cannot be completely absorbed in the landscape or fine art in foreign countries. I cannot but compare them with Japanese ones. When I promenaded the Seine or the Thames, the Kamo or the Horikawa overlapped them. When I looked at a lady painted in oils, I remembered the image of Koharu, a typical Japanese beauty in a Japanese-style painting.

セーヌのほとり * La Seine (2004)



Koharu: Did you remember ME? in such a distant place!

Seiho: Yes, I always recalled YOU more vividly and clearly than in Kyoto! I swore there to paint young Koharu on the day when we met first, when I am fully prepared someday. A dancing apprentice geisha whom only Seiho can paint after having seen these Western beauties, as if I showed it to that Western painter with blue eyes, ” What do you think of my painting?”― It was because I wanted to tell you that I left the ship at Nagasaki. Koharu, will you wait for me in the same way you waited for me for a long time today, although I am not sure when it will be.



Seiho is to paint Oh, Rain eight years later and then to challenge the nude in Japanse-style painting that would require a multi-year effort.

フランスの猫 (2004年) Chat en France



(En se réchauffantau soleil de printemps sur le ventre, une petite chatte attend le jour où elle est peinte dans un tableau.)

(つづく*To be continued)

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-11-05 06:08 | | Trackback | Comments(0)

いとしや小春 上(Koharu, ma belle1) 

Photo of Asako, an apprentice geisha in Gion*Koharu is a fictitious character of snowdrop.

Oh, Rain painted by Seiho


I am a geisha named Koharu. A real model of Oh, Rain painted by Maestro Seiho. It is said that the model of that painting was his daughter (hair style) and an apprentice geisha (pose). But they are provisional ones in order to recall my figure
Maestro fell in love with me when I was an apprentice geisha and he was in his teens. I rememberwhen I was dancing in a parlor, I felt a passionate gaze from a distant corner, like a moxa cautery on the nape.


祇園の舞妓*dancing apprentice geisha (2014)


An apprentice painter having a slender face and thick lips, who was called Seiho (
棲鳳). He was sketching the cotton roses by Shira-kawa River day after day. You know, this one-day flower blooms and withers, and another blooms and withers next day, so that the small tree looks almost the same for dozens of days. It must have been a good model for the earnest apprentice painter.

白川の芙蓉*Cotton rose by Shira-kawa River



栖鳳「日々の写生ほど大事なもんはない。徽宗皇帝の芙蓉がどんなにきれえでも、絵を絵に写すだけでは足らんのや。― へへ、偉そうなこと言うてるけど、こんなに早う腕が上がったんは、じつは小春はんのおかげなんやで。…ほんまはな、わて、小春はんがここをよう通るのを知ってて、この芙蓉のとこへ通い詰めてたんや…小猫みたいにそうっと忍び足で近づいて来られるたんび、わくわくしたわ」

「小春  栖鳳」の画像検索結果
竹内栖鳳「小春」* Koharu (Indian Summer) painted by Seiho

Seiho: Koharu-han, my ink painting representing cotton roses is to be used as an example in the private painting school…before a year has passed sicne I entered! I was so proud that I could not help adding my age to the signature.

Koharu: Your daily diligence has been rewarded! Every time I past by, I peeked into your sketchbook secretly. I would admire your progress and be encouraged to practice dancing.

Seiho: Nothing is more important than painting a thing from nature. No matter how wonderful Hui Song’s cotton roses are, it is not enough for you just to copy them. ― He-he, though I am talking big, I owe my rapid progress to you.To tell the truth, it was because you often pass by here that I’ve sketched this cotton rose tree every day. Whenever you came closer to me en catimini, I was so excited!

Seiho (around 17 years old)


Since then various things have happened. While I became geisha, Maestro married a beauty and had pretty children,
…which I had been prepared in mind. But I felt lonely when he decided to travel abroad. He would go to a distance, beyond my reach. When he would return, he would become a big shot, big name in frock coat. He would become too famous to meet me in secret, though we had been in love for twenty years or so!


風車(かざぐるま)* Clematis patens like Windmill



The time has past like a paper windmill, and an
apprentice geisha has become a dignified geisha.

早朝の祇園*Gion, early morning (2014)


But I received a secret air mail from Maestro who was to return to Japan before long.
“When I arrive at Port of Kobe, many people such as my family, painters, and townsmen will surround me all at once. The atmosphere of Europe in my mind will be dispersed like a popped balloon.
Therefore, I have an intention of leaving the ship at Nagasaki, before reaching Kobe. Wait for me at the Port of Nagasaki, please! I want to see you earlier than anybody! I want to talk about what I have seen in the West to you, earlier than anybody! In Japan after a long absence, I want to taste the impression of the West in silence, close to you, even for a short time. And some day I will paint the Japanese beauty that only Seiho (栖鳳) can paint after having seen the West ―”

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcLbS0yxzdk (Please Mr Postman - Carpenters)


# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-10-29 18:02 | | Trackback | Comments(2)

我的愛、徽宗(Emperor Huizong's, my favorite)

竹内栖鳳「小春」*Indian Summer (Ko-haru) by Seiho (1927)




 Wo shi Huizong de bai maoI am Seiho's white cat being from Huizong's). Though I am not known as well as that famous spotted cat by Seiho, I belong to a respected family tree of another cat painted by that emperor. What's more, I am a beauty looking back!

 Huizong's cat has inspired many painters such as HISHIDA Shunso and KISHIDA Ryusei. Both cats are fat enough to symbolize an amulet. Miau! the good-luck cat is a black one? I’ve told a lie, pardon!

 The fine hairlines and mild dignity are selling points of HISHIDA Shunso’s, which might be comparable to Huizong’s. By the way, the black dot on our fronts often appears in our childhood.


Cat attributed to Huizong, Song(google search)


白き猫(部分) 『菱田春草』朝日新聞社 
White Cat (detail) by HISHIDA Shunso (1901)


岸田劉生「猫図」 Cat by KISHIDA Ryusei (1926) (google search)


Though KISHIDA Ryusei (1891-1929) was a Western-style painter, he painted this mysterious cat in Japanse style. Why did the Western-style painter who admired A. Durer paint a cat being from Song Dynasty in Japanse style? He had a great esteem for Chinese paintings also. He often portrayed his daughter Reiko by oils, sometimes like Hanshan and Shi De painted in Yüan dynasty.

(google search)


Ryusei said, “The authentic artworks often have the power to calm down our minds mysteriously.” Not a few modern Japanese estimated beautiful things both in the East and the West. Huizong’ s paintings were as beautiful and silent as those of Durer for him. Ryusei himself pursued the mysterious paingting with strong taste.

「seiho cat」の画像検索結果「小春  栖鳳」の画像検索結果


Now would you compare me not with other white cats but with Seiho’ s spotted one? Do you find us mirror-reversed images?
Maestro Seiho often painted one motif many times, from various angles, in various colours. Here are two foxes painted in the same year like mirror-revesed imagesunder the crescent or the hazy moon, they look as if they were dancing. We, the spotted cat and I also are looking back at each other beyond time and space. This is the white cat in Seiho’s style!

Foxes paintd by Seiho (detail) (1928, respectively)

ちょっと話は飛びますけど、栖鳳せんせの「アレ夕立に」の着物の柄になっている芙蓉…。芙蓉は言うまでもなく美人の象徴どすけど、徽宗の「芙蓉図」(下図) の影も落ちてるんと違うやろか。清楚にして儚い一日花は、中国や日本の文人を魅了しました。み仏の花、蓮になぞらえられ、牡丹とおなじく富貴の華と呼ばれ…。

Anyway, the pattern of cotton roses on that maiko’s kimono in Oh, Rain
of course the cotton rose is a symbol of beauty, but I suppose that Seiho was conscious of Huizong’s Cotton roses. This neat and clean one day flower has fascinated both Chinese and Japanese writers and artists. They compared the flower to the lotus, Buddhist flower, or the peony, a symbol of wealth.

Cotton roses by Huizong
Oh, Rain by Seiho


Do you remember that Maestro had painted a peony as an example of the private painting school and had signed it proudly in his teenth? When he could not decide the floral pattern in Oh, Rain, one of his ambitious paintings, did the flower of the hope in his youth come to his mind? And just between us, I've heard that his first love was a beautiful maiko like a cotton rose, whose name was Ko-haru (Indian summer).

Cotton rose by Seiho

p.s. snowdropが見た初めての展覧会はこちらだったかもしれません。↓

The first exhibition that snowdrop visited might have been this one.↓

Nakamura Teii' s Cat in the catalogue published in 1981

(つづく*To be continued)
(All Rights Reserved)


# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-10-21 21:48 | | Trackback | Comments(2)

斑猫かく語りき(Also sprach Katze)


Spotted Cat by Seiho (1924)



 I am a cat. Not the hero of a novel of NATSUME Soseki, who was depressed during his study in London, returned home and began to write that cat-novel to divert himself. But the spotted cat painted by TAKEUCHI Seiho.

 At the beginning of autumn, I was grooming myself in front of the greengrocer's. It was so sunny and dry that my hair was flipping out. Alghough I knew that too much grooming might produce hairballs in my stomach, I took my time over it. …I felt a thrill and looked up, at the moment my eyes met his. He was a man with black eyes glowing with quiet determination. His thick lips opened and said,
“Aha! There is a cat painted by Emperor
” Huizong? Later I knew that the cat-painting attributed to Emperor Huizong of Song (following fig., center) was popular among Japanese-style painters in those days.

(google search)

 ところがだ。その男はぜんっぜん描き足りなかったらしい。日を改めて、男の滞在している宿の人がやって来て、あたいの飼い主、八百屋のおかみと交渉を始めたんだ。嫌がるおかみがぷいと席を立った隙に、だんなが気を利かせてあたいを宿まで連れて行っちまった。あたいは怒った!ひと暴れして爪でだんなの手をバリバリッて掻きむしってやったよ。お偉い画伯だかなんだか知らないが、そいつの仰せだからって、あたいとおかみを引き裂こうなんて!おのれ卑怯な!! 裏切り者!!! でも、所詮は無駄な抵抗だったね。だんなは画家先生の絵一枚と引き換えに、あたいを渡しちまった。

 That man pulled out a sketchbook and began drawing something while standing. Looking into that, I found lots of drawing lines repesenting something like contours of my body! Drop it!! When he left me, I was relieved so much that I lost strength. Sigh.
 But! He didn’t sketch enough at all! Another day a proprietor of a hotel in which that painter was staying came to our greengrocer's and began to negociate to take custody of me. While my madam left the room for a moment who was unwilling to give me, the greengrocer brought me to the hotel. I blew my top! I raged and clawed his hands. Even if a great painter has requested that, you dare to separate my madam and I?! Betrayer!! Chicken!!! But my resistance was vain
he handed me to the painter in exchange for only one painting.


錦市場*Nishiki Market, Kyoto
Kamo-nasu is a large round eggplant of Kyo-yasai (vegetable indigenous to Kyoto).


I have come to Kyoto all the way from Numazu.The new life as a model of the painter has begun, while surrounded by strange smells, drinking strange taste of water, eating strange vegetables indigenous to Kyoto. Of course I needed not pose for his picture. All I had to do was to play freely
. But whenever I came to myself from grooming, his black eyes were gazing at me. That was gross! I also stared back at him with my green-gold eyes!

Enjoying Drinking by Seiho (1924)


When he came up against a brick wall, he jotted me down randomly. Miaaaaaaaaou, what’s this?! I’ ve NEVER tried to make a mouse drunk and eat it!! He smiled and began to paint Spotted Cat again. What fine hairlines!! Did he run out of time to paint the background? Oh, you say that this space brings out the motif, like that in The Fifer by Manet? I see.

「manet fifer」の画像検索結果

マネ「笛を吹く少年」*The Fifer by Manet (wikipedia)


 At last he finished my portrait and went to Tokyo. I lost no time in running away en catimini. Later he said ”I feel as if that cat had been not a real one but the painted one in the hanging scroll of Emperor Huizong and I had returned it after having completed my painting.”
 NO WAY! I am merely a cat! And he was a painter who could equal that emperor. While he was making a
cartoon for embroidery, the autumnal landscape in Arashiyama looked like a piece of embroidery-work for him! The painter changes the wholeworld to one painting in his eyes!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43T_NSxQjy0 (嵐山*Arashiyama)

Photo of the cat which is said to be the one Seiho painted

つづく*To be continued)
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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-10-15 05:27 | | Trackback | Comments(0)

塔のある風景―東洋にて(Landscape with Bell tower in the Orient)


Jiangnan in spring painted by Seiho (1921)


Beautiful Chinese Poem and Painting*Gyokashi by Zhang Zhi-he (c.730-810))

In the Taisho period (1912-1926), Seiho came to be attracted by the landscape with pagodas. He wanted to see with his own eyes the Chinese pagodas he had seen in Japanse traditional paintings. This desire drove him to travel to China in 1920 and 1921. He sailed twice from Port of Kobe to China and painted many landscapes chiefly in Jiangnan.


石濤の漢詩(『中国漢詩の旅 名山の美』世界文化社)*Poem by Shitao


What is this sense of nostalgia? As if I was returning to my Ur-landscapethe nature composed of the mountains and water where the hermits live, where the men become spotted figures. We are parts of the nature, and we can project our emotions on it. This is the homeland of Japanese-style landscapes. Our landscapes contrast with the Western-style one where the nature was originally the background of human figures or has often been their rival.

石濤の山水画*Landscape by Shitao(wikipedia)



At the same time, Seiho was attracted by the Western-style landscapes. Ruysdael,Turner whom he has admired from his childhood, Corot whose paintings he watched for the first time in France, etc., etc.

 For example, Recollection of Mortefontaine by Corot ― ,whose landscape represents Valois, the homeland of Nerval, a friend of Corot’s. When you see Corot’ s paintings after studying the French literature, you hear several passages of Nerval’ s poems or novels. Corot’ s paintings often hide invisible poems, which remind us of Chinese poems written in a corner of Chinese-style landscapes. It is true that Seiho may not have known Nerval, but he may have sympathized with a silent poetry in Corot’s paintings. He must have found a contact point between the West and the East.


Souvenir de Mortefontaine
par Corot (wikipeda)


"When I observed Corot’ s paintings, I felt that they were the authentic landscapes. The silver woods by the lake, an abandoned boat, a farm woman wearing a red hood and walking on a path covered with underbrush. Is there any painting that represents the landscape more softly, more poetically, more accurately than his?"
Seiho’ s Talks
(translation of snowdrop)


竹内栖鳳「模写 山水長巻図」(部分)*図版中央に人物が点描されている

Copy of Sesshu’s Long scroll of Landscapes by Seiho(detail, where you can find two human figures)(1890)


The painter who had copied Sesshu’ s landscapes, had been moved by the Western-style paintings, and traveled in China, he was groping for his own new landscapes. When he visited Itako, whose seaside/riverside landscapes reminded him of those of Suzhou and Venice. Japanese Itako showed more free and natural landscapes for this painter. After the rainy season, in a brilliant green landscape, a farmer and an ox go by boat. The summer has come!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB4hER2tgUU(ショパンの舟歌* Chopin Barcarolle)

栖鳳の愛した潮来*Itako loved by Seiho(1930)


The utopia that he had sought for existed in Japan, like a blue bird, a kingfisher! He remembered that in both Chinese landscapes and paintings he found animated people. He further rememebered that in Sesshu’s landscapes he had found not a few spotted lively human figures. Thanks to them, did he feel as if he had been absorbed in and had been traveling in the landscape? Didn’t he hear the voices and songs from there while copying, did he?

蘇東坡の愛した蘇州*Suzhou loved by Sū Shì(1930)

蘇東坡(1037-1101)は王維(摩詰)(699-761)を評してこう述べたという。「摩詰の詩を味わえば、詩中に画あり。摩詰の画を味わえば、画中に詩あり」 画は声なき詩、詩は声ある画…栖鳳の描いた蘇州風景も、中国絵画の、ひいては南画の系譜に連なっている。

Su Shi praised Wang Wei’ s paintings and poems as follows. “When I appreciate Wang Wei’ s poem, I find a painting in it. When I appreciate Wang Wei’ s painting, I find a poem in it.” While the painting is the silent poem, the poem is the eloquent painting…Seiho's landscapes in Jiangnan belong to the descent of a school of Chinese painting which became popular in Japan during the Edo period.

「潮沙永日」* Long spring day on Beach(1922)


And on that deserted beach, the human figures have appeared one after another. While Soseki wrote Sketches on Long spring day three years after The Grass Pillow, Seiho painted a series of peaceful seascapes i.e. Long spring day on Beach several years after that

「海浜風光」*Beach sceneryc.1930


The pine trees are no longer isolated. The wind through the pine leaves surely reaches fishermen’ s ears or plovers. The boats have found their places in a corner of the beach and wait for their departure or has already put up a small and white sail.―


「潮沙去来」*Ebb and Flow of Tide1930



If there were neither people nor plovers in a blue seascape, the wind through pine branches would feel lonely?

「潮沙和暖」*Warm beach(1934)

(姉妹記事*塔のある風景―西洋にて(Landscape with Bell tower in the Westhttp://ramages2.exblog.jp/26043951/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O6uYK-ZtY0 (Bonus*Swedish Nyckelharpa)

(つづく*To be continued)
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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-10-08 07:21 | | Trackback | Comments(0)

そして誰もいなくなった(And Then There Were None)

竹内栖鳳「河口」 Estuary by Seiho (1918)

(ショパン「夜想曲第15番」* Nocturne No. 15 by Chopin)

Where am I? There is no oneneither men, nor birds, nor animals, nor fishes, nor shellsonly several green and blue pine trees stand in the wind. They resemble those painted by Turner in Italyno, there are scratched touches in them. This is the painting that I am to paint hereafter. I fell asleep while planning this painting

「The Bay of Baiae with Apollo and the Sibyl by Turner」の画像検索結果
The Bay of Baiae with Apollo and the Sibyl by Turner(Tate HP)


Night after night I have dreamt about the sea. Ruisdael’ s sea overcast with monstrous clouds, Turner ’ s sea in the sunbeam from the clouds
I was wandering lots of sea paintings I had seen while traveling abroad. How numerous seascapes I saw in Europe! Their memories filled my head and was about to split my skull. I had no choice but to paint my own seascape. I could not help voimiting and subliming the memories.

「turner the sea painting」の画像検索結果
Snow Storm
by Turner (Tate HP)



 And I began to paint a picture of several boats and gulls on a pair of six-folded screens, dynamically and closely. But I found it a hard work. Though the screens were large, the painting itself did not spread out. From my landscape I could not smell the sea that had surrounded me on the deck during my voyage. There was no wind in my screens.
 At last I gave up my seascape. It was six years ago, when I had a hard time to finish the ceiling painting of the heavenly maidens. Both the blue sky in Italia and the open sea were beyond my capacities. It was entirely different from the sky and sea inside the frame of the traditional Japanese or Chinese style. It seemed to me that it showed the expanse and depth of the Western paintings. How frustrating!

Ships and Gulls (unfinished) by Seiho (c. 1911)

思えば、盆地育ちの京都人の私にとって、海は憧れの存在だった。だが、絵を描くには憧れだけでは足りない、対象の首根っこをつかまえた、という確信が要る。私にとって、手の内に収まるような親しい水景は何だろう。川だ。なつかしい鴨川、堀川。セーヌにもテムズにも、京の川の面影を重ねずにはおれなかった― ならば、川と海の出会うところ、河口を描こう。

For a person born and living only in Kyoto, a basin region, the sea is a fresh and desired place. But in order to paint a picture, the mere admiration is not enough. I need the confidence that I have caught the essence of the subject. What kind of water landscapes are familiar for me? The river! MY Kamo-gawa River, Hori-kawa River…. While traveling abroad, I could not help overlaying these rivers on the Seine and Thames. If so, I will paint the spot where the sea and river meet, the estuary.



The composition of Estuary was not vertical but horizontal in order to express the expanse. The luster of the silk must help me to express the shimmer and wind. A winding ocher river flows into the green sea. The white crests beat out of rhythm different from the eddies on the river. In the middle of the composition, several pine trees stand. The leaves are sometimes blue and sometimes green like the granit that I have seen once in some foreign country. On these blue and green masses I scratch the abstract needles. Here are my own hard pine trees that are completely different from the traditional ones.
I add a bush with a dull colour so as to give perspective, when the sea breeze begins to blow, the booming of the waves reaches me. The cloudy sky spreads out, where you find neither Ruysdael’s eloquent clouds nor Turner’ s ones with the contrast between light and shade, but the vague and stateless ones
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGbSYohHcio (Léo Ferré - La mémoire et la mer




A word “Detachment” occurred to me. It is a key word in The Grass Pillow by NATSUME Soseki. The hero leaves for a journey to detach himself from the stuffy world. But in deserted landscapes, he founds the paintings of Millais or Turner

The Japanese style painting or the Western painting? Huh! Whichever! The detachment, pas mal! I won’t paint human figures in the spreading waves and sea breeze, because I do not want to limit the spot of this painting. I won’t paint seagulls, because I do not want to put the personal feeling into the birds. I have seen a painting of Turner where one finds only the colours and abstract forms. How smart and refreshing!! What is this light feeling as if I forgot when and where I am and even WHO I AM on awakening

「グレン グールド 坂本 龍一 セレクション」の画像検索結果

(google search)


The Grass Pillow (English version) was a favorite book of Glenn Gould.



Quand je suis rien, mon piano commence à chanter tout seul, sans l’ audience, sans le pianiste.

(Soseki museum in London was closed one year ahead of schedule due to financial difficulties and the influence of Brexit.)

(つづく*To be continued)
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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-10-01 05:05 | | Trackback | Comments(2)

空は何いろ 下(What colour is the sky?2) 

Rome painted by Seiho (1903)


The landscapes of Europe painted by Seiho just after his going abroadthey astonish us in the opposite way to his Sange. Rome, The moon in Venice, Holland in spring andItaly in autumnyou can find the blue sky in none of them. These landscapes at the waterside or in the haze look like the Japanese ink painting. For example, Hollandin spring is like a fusuma-sliding door painting. The theme is not an old castle or a windmill but the atmosphere spreading horizontally or vertically.The landscape seen in a tatami parlorjust like a television program on the travel in Europe seen in a living room!


竹内栖鳳「ベニスの月」*The Moon in Venice by Seiho(1904)


Cambiando la sua maschera azzurra, rossa e nera, lei è vestita di bianco della nebbia ― la regina del mare, Venezia.(2014)

「dogana and santa maria della salute」の画像検索結果

The Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute, Venice by Turner (1843)(google search)

ヴィヴァルディ「調和の霊感」op3*L'Estro Armonico Op. 3 by A. Vivaldi  


 ヨーロッパとその絵画にあふれる濃厚で圧倒的な色彩に、まずは水墨という東洋の「五彩」で立ち向かってみる。憧れのトルネル(ターナー)が描いたヴェニスを、靄に包まれた空気感はそのままに、水墨で描く。洋画の十八番である月光風景を、しかも逆光の情景を、水墨で描く。―それは 禁欲ではない。十年後の「散華」に見られる周到な 野心が、既にここにある。或いは、油絵の大作が並ぶパリ万博の会場に、水墨の雀を持ちこんだ時とおなじ心意気がある。画家は渡欧の前も「鳳」であったし、渡欧の後も、西を見た「鳳」であったのだ。

 It is known that many of Seiho’ s landscapes were painted based on the photographs or postcards on the spot. Does the ink tone come from their sepia colour? But Seiho might have dared to seal the colour
…. BUT is it possible for a painter who looked at Rome with the blue sky and green cypress, or Venice, the iris aquapolis for the first time not to use the color paints?

At first he might have tried to confront the overwhelming colours in Eurpe and the Western paintings with the ink of the Eastern painting because the gradation of ink is said to have the infinite colours. He painted only in ink Venice in haze that Turner had painted. Or he painted only in ink the landsape facing the moonlight that had been painted by various Western painters. Was he stoic? No, he was ambitious. We can already recognize here the prudent ambition that is to be seen in his Sange. Or we find the same spirit of this painter who brought the sparrows in ink to the Paris Exposition where lots of colorful and large oil paintings were exhibited. He had been a phoenix before traveling abroad, and he was still a phoenix that had seen the West after returning home.



I remember an episode where OGATA Korin’ s wife once dared to choose a black kimono following her husband’s advice in order to make her kimono stand out among other ladies’ colorful ones. Both Korin and Seiho were from Kyoto and shared the same aesthetic sense. About ten years after a series of landscapes in ink, like a reaction, two richly-colored Buddhist images were born. If the ceiling painting had been completed, the blue sky spreading to Italia would have shined in that Japanese temple. How spectacular it would have been!

水路閣、南禅寺境内*Aquaduct of the Lake Biwa Canal(1888)


Seiho: The roman water bridge I saw in Rome, whose modern version had already appeared in Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto! It is an aquaduct of the Lake Biwa Canal which was designed by a twenty-six-year-old youth, based on the Roman ones. For a wonder, its appearance harmonizes with the historical landscape. One is seen under the Italian azure sky, the other under the Japanese pale blue sky both of them are beautiful. When the Lake Biwa Canal began to operate, the electric lights were lit at a time by the water power. I cannot forget my palpitation on that day. Shoen-han’ s eyes were also shining like the illumination when she remembered that day. What is the most important for us, the painters, is the light. Needless to say, it is the best to paint under the natural light, but it is encouraging to have the light after sunset. Modern Times in Kyoto have begun at that time!

明治時代の吊り灯籠*Hanging lantern made around 1886

(つづく*To be continued)

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-09-24 05:33 | | Trackback(1) | Comments(1)

空は何いろ 上(What colour is the sky?1) 

Sange by Seiho (1910)


In 1864, the year when Seiho was born, Hamaguri(Clam) Imperial Gate Incident burnt many buildings in Higashi Hongan-ji Temple. When the Founder’ s Hall Gate was to be rebuilt, the head, OTANI Koen asked Seiho to paint the ceiling painting in 1909. In fact, the future head and the young painter had participated in the trip to collect the money to reconstruct the edifices in 1885. Koen was ten and Seiho twenty. Since then, they had kept in contact with one another through haiku.


栖鳳によるスケッチ (1910年頃) * sketch by Seiho (c.1910)


天上絵の事初空を仰ぎ見し 句佛(光演の俳号)

But finally the ceiling painting was not completed. Seiho had difficulty harmonizing two different women’s nudes and the images of heavenly maiden he had seen in several Buddhist temples. He might have found that ceiling much lower than those in the churches in Europe could not bring the effect of the trompe l'oeil. The Japanese new nude had to be sublimated into the beautiful illusion, the real trompe l'oeil. If it was impossible, the painting had to be abandoned.

Descent of Amida and the Heavenly Multitude(Koyasan- Yushi Hachiman-ko)(12c.)(detail)

Sange by Seiho (detail)


And yet Seiho left us two beautiful Sange (scattering flowers). Two paintings on silk, the miniature-sized prototypes are worth appreciating enough. The heavenly maidens are playing the instruments like those in Descent of Amida and the Heavenly Multitude (Koyasan- Yushi Hachiman-ko)upper two figs.), and dancing while showing their soles of feet like those in Horyu-ji Temple. Raising a big toe expresses the movement (lower two figs: upper right and lower). The contrast of the vermilion and the pastel shades are a kind of renaissance of the soft and vivid sense of color in the Heian period.

(来迎の音楽は平調:ホ調*Amida descends with the music in E major/minor.)

Descent of Amida and the Heavenly Multitude(Koyasan-
Yushi Hachiman-ko)(12c.)(detail)

腰鼓と足指*Sange by Seiho (detail, a drum and a big toe)




 When I saw Sange in Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, it reminded me of Italian Christian art rather than the Buddhist image. The angels that Giotto painted at Cappella degli Scrovegni, that Fra Angelico at San Marco, that Mantegna at Camera degli Sposi, etc. The blue sky in Italia! I found the sky of the lapis lazuli of Giotto in one of Seiho’s paintings on silk. Is this blue and clear sky the reappearance of that of several ceiling paintings that Seiho might have seen in Europe? I found the soft and vivid colours of Fra Angelico or the painters of Descent of Amida and the Heavenly Multitude in these Seiho’s paintings.
 Was he ambitious enough to harmonize the Buddhist images in modern times and those in the Heian period, the nude in Japanse style painting and that in Western one, the ceiling painting in the East and that in the West to create his own new illusion (trompe l'oeil)? But that ambition might have vanished in illusion.
 Then, how did Seiho paint the European landscapes ?

Sange by seiho (1910)


The azure of the sky I saw in Italy, revive today in Japan, in the sky where the flower petals are being scattered!




Angels painted by Giotto in Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italia
One of angels shows her back (wings) and sole of her foot.

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# by snowdrop-nara | 2016-09-17 05:10 | | Trackback | Comments(0)

みどりと文江 下(Midori and Fumie2)

Posing for the First Time (1913) and its p
reparatory drawing


At the moment when I tried to take off my kimono, the whole body rejected that! I wanted to hide everything, my breasts, my stomach, my feet, my blushed cheeks, and my tearful eyes. I should have understood it. He was an artist and gentleman, and what he would paint was not a flesh and blood woman but the sacred heavenly maiden
. For this reason I had accepted to pose as a model. It was what I had decided by myself. But I couldn’tI couldn’t expose myself in such a light room. The shoji sliding paper doors for shunning the public eye confided me like a cage without keys. There was no escape. The painter has an eagle eye, especially he did. I felt that my energy stripped off and absorbed from my skin’ s surface. It was not only the body but the bone that he observed.

栖鳳「観花図」(google search)
Cherry blossom viewing by Seiho (1897)

「絹本 着色 骸骨 図」の画像検索結果

Peony Lantern by Hokusai(


煩悩あれば衆生あり 骸骨のうへを装て花見哉」(上島鬼貫)

Maestro had already studied the anatomy before his trip abroad. He sketched a skeletal specimen that he borrowed from a hospital in Kyoto. While Hokusai had painted a caricatural skeleton carrying a lantern, Maestro depicted it more realistically and accurately. Maestro’ s skeleton dances with a court lady’ s fan under cherry blossom petals, which expresses the vanitas. But this painting was refused from an exhibition for the reason that the skeleton hidden in the flesh was more scandalous than the nude hidden in kimono. Maestro expressed only the spirit of one haiku: People dress up on the skeletons and admire the cherry blossoms
UEJIMA Onitsura (1661-1738)

黒田清輝の「裸体婦人像」の展示の様子を報じた新聞記事 (1901年)
Illustration in a newspaper reporting KURODA Seiki' s Female Nude covered with a cloth(google search)
He was a Western style painter and was younger than Seiho by two years.




 At that time, the nude was often regulated, for example, the lower half of KURODA Seiki’ s Female Nude was covered with a cloth. Like Michelangelo’ s Last Judgement retouched several hundreds years ago! ― Who said so and laughed? Maestro? Or one of his disciples, Mr. Nishiyama or Mr. Tsuchida? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuchida_Bakusen

 Maestro Seiho was one of the most advanced Japanese-style painter. He said that flowers, birds, animals, landscapes, and the human beings, they all are the creature of Nature, so that it is natural to sketch them with models.



 When I had to pose for the first time, Maestro never rushed me. He waited for me to get myself together while smiling gently. He was observing this cheerful girl getting teary-eyed and covering her blushed cheeks with her hand. And later he painted this scene! He was not a mere gentle person but a real painter to the bone!
 It was embarrassing to play one past moment repeatedly. Look, how complicated this preparatory drawing is! What exquisite outlines of eyes! The pure heart and the enchantress. Here is Fumie, whom she herself doesn’t know, an eighteen-year-old maiden eternally. Now I’ m content that I had my portrait painted by him.