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One of a pair of six-panel folding screens, ink and color on gilded paper
Image: 152.8 x 361.2 cm (60 3/16 x 142 3/16 in.); Overall: 168.8 x 373.2 cm (66 7/16 x 146 15/16 in.); Closed: 170.8 x 64.5 x 12 cm (67 1/4 x 25 3/8 x 4 3/4 in.); Panel: 164.8 x 62.3 cm (64 7/8 x 24 1/2 in.); with frame: 168.8 x 377.2 cm (66 7/16 x 148 1/2 in.)
Gift of The Norweb Foundation 1954.603.2
The subject of this painting comes from a 10th-century text. It tells of a young nobleman’s journey into the lonely countryside, far from the capital city of Heian-kyō (Kyoto). There he came upon a small stream, the banks of which were covered with blooming irises, on which the artist has chosen to focus our attention. While viewing the beautiful flowers the nobleman composed a poem:
I have a beloved wife,
Familiar as the skirt of a well-worn robe,
And so this distant journeying
Fills my heart with grief.
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