Poem by Emperor Tenchi, from the series One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets Explained by the Nurse

Poem by Emperor Tenchi, from the series One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets Explained by the Nurse

1835-36

Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾 北斎

(Japanese, 1760-1849)

Color woodblock print

Sheet: 24.4 x 37 cm (9 5/8 x 14 9/16 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1164

Description

This autumn landscape with rice farmers and travelers is from Katsushika Hokusai’s series of prints inspired by the anthology One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets (Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki). While traveling through the countryside, like the two figures in the center, a sudden storm forced the Emperor Tenchi (reigned 661–72) to take shelter in a rice farmer’s hut. The experience produced tears of sympathy for the common people toiling under heavy burdens and living in rough, flimsy homes.

The poem at the upper right next to the cartouche reads:
Lying on the rough
Mats of rice-harvest guards
In the autumn fields,
I find the sleeves of my robe wet.
Is the dew so heavy?

See also
Collection: 
Japanese Art
Department: 
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 
Print

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