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Calligraphy

Hon'ami Koetsu, Tawaraya Sotatsu

Asian Art

Koetsu, a calligrapher, and Sotatsu, a painter, often collaborated to produce works in which calligraphy and painting complemented each other. This piece contains a poem that reads:

Tea helps dispel worries and cares,

Leading us to easiness, free from the pursuit of worldly success,

Tea, like a day lily, helps us forget,

Leaving us totally relaxed.

The free-flowing brushwork matches the loose spirit of them poem. In both style and subject matter, this calligraphy pays homage to "tea taste," an aesthetic in which natural, accidental beauty is careful studied, appreciated, and replicated.

MEDIUM Hanging scroll, ink and gold on paper
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 17th century
    PERIOD Momoyama Period
    DIMENSIONS 34 3/4 x 11 1/8 in. (88.3 x 28.3 cm) poem card only: 7 7/16 x 6 5/8 in. (18.9 x 16.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Unsigned. No seals.
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1991.1.1
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Carl L. Selden
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Hon'ami Koetsu (Japanese, 1558-1637). Calligraphy, 17th century. Hanging scroll, ink and gold on paper, 34 3/4 x 11 1/8 in. (88.3 x 28.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Carl L. Selden, 1991.1.1
    IMAGE overall, 1991.1.1_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Album leaf with calligraphy of a poem about tea by Koetsu in square poem card format (shikishi). The paper is decorated with a pine tree grove painted by Sotatsu in tarashikomi technique. Koetsu was known to have copied poems from earlier anthologies, imitating courtly manner of 12th century. Unsigned, no seals. Mount: Strips of Indian dyed cloth (17th cen.) surrounding card. Condition: Excellent. No prior repairs visible.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (87%)
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    Calligraphy