Fragment of the Shinkokinshū Poetry Anthology: Deer

Tawaraya Sōtatsu17c

Yamatane Museum of Art

Yamatane Museum of Art
Tokyo , Japan

Originally this handscroll was approximately 20 meters long and contained all 28 poems on autumnal subjects from the imperial anthology known as the Shin Kokin Wakashû. In the last century this handscroll was split in two. After World War II the latter half of the scroll entered the Seattle Art Museum collection, while the first half was further divided into sections that are now spread amongst numerous collections. This fragment is from the beginning of the first half of the scroll, and includes Saigyô's poem which can be translated as, "Even a person free of passion would be moved to sadness, autumn evening in a marsh where snipe fly up. "The support paper has been decorated with paintings of deer, created in gold and silver paint. These animals appear in different groupings, at times single figures, at other times grouped together in an adroit, always intriguing arrangement that plays on variations between rough vs. detailed, movement vs. stillness. Kôetsu brushed the calligraphy as if in response to Sôtatsu's paintings, with this fragment's section a well-balanced arrangement of still deer set between the first and second half of the verse. Deer have long been a motif central to waka poems about autumn, and at the same time in Asian traditional cultures, they are the messengers of the gods and symbols of happiness. Thus this underpainting motif may have been chosen for its auspicious as well as seasonal meaning.


  • Title: Fragment of the Shinkokinshū Poetry Anthology: Deer
  • Creator Nationality: Japan
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Date Created: 17c
  • Location Created: Kyoto, Japan
  • 材質・技法(日本語): 紙本・金銀泥絵・墨書・軸(1幅)
  • 作家名(日本語): 俵屋宗達(絵)・本阿弥光悦(書)
  • 作品名(日本語): 鹿下絵新古今集和歌巻断簡
  • Physical Dimensions: w703 x h337 mm
  • Painter: Tawaraya Sōtatsu
  • Artist Name2: Hon'ami Kōetsu
  • Type: Edo Paintings
  • Rights: Yamatane Museum of Art, Japan, © Yamatane Museum of Art, 2013
  • Medium: Ink, Gold and Silver on Paper

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