Artist: Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)
Woodblock Prints Title: Poem by Ono no Komachi, from the series One Hundred Poems Explained by the Nurse (Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki)
1st Publication: 1835-1836
Size: Horizontal ˘ban; 26.4 x 37.6 cm (10 3/8 x 14 13/16 in.)
Date of this edition: 1835-1836, 1st Edition
Publisher: Nishimuraya Yohachi (Eijud˘)
Condition: Patch repair in the lower left corner, somewhat blending. Some stains. Partial trimming on the right and lower side of the print. Excellent colors and impression, poor to fair overall condition.
Notes: The print is signed Zen Saki no Hokusai Manji.
More about this print:
Komachi lived from 834 to 880 and was the adoptive daughter of the Poet Ono no Takamura. She was renowned for her beauty and is one of the Rokkasen (6 great Poets)
The poem reads:
Hana no iro wa, Utsuri ni keri ni, Itazura ni, Waga mi yo ni furu, Nagame seshi ma ni
It translates by:
Color of the flower, has already passed away, while on trivial things, vainly I set my gaze, in my journey throught the world.
This is one of the most famous Japanese poem of all time. The subtlety resides in the various meaning of each word used. For example, Iro means color, but it also means facial beauty. Furu would translate by walking through, but also to grow old, and so forth. Almost each words have multiple meanings, as it compares the fading of the colors of the flowers with the fading of beauty as one's grows older.
Pictures: Pictures are taken outdoor, in the shade, to reflect true colors, without any enhancements of any kind. The last picture is taken indoor, with a light behind the print, to reveal the exact paper grain, holes if any, or other possible flaws.