Art Acquisitions

ART ACQUISITION
Hon’ami Kōetsu (本阿弥 光悦)
(Japanese, 1558–1637)
Poems from the New Collection of Japanese Poems from Ancient and Modern Times (Shinkokin wakashū) with Printed Designs of Plants and Animals, before 1615
Japanese, Edo period, 1615–1868
Handscroll; ink and mica on colored paper
24.1 × 414.5 cm
Acquired in 2003; Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund; Executive Committee of “The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection” exhibition in Japan; and the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, 2003-94

Kōetsu, a leader in the revival of classical traditions, became renowned for his calligraphic work and collaborated with artisans in areas ranging from printed books to ceramics, lacquer, theater, and tea. In this handscroll, ten verses from the anthology New Collection of Japanese Poems from Ancient and Modern Times are dynamically brushed across the surface in a manner known as “scattered writing” (chirashi-gaki). The rhythm and intensity of ink allow the fluid characters to harmonize with the rhythm of woodblock-printed mica designs on sheets of colored paper. Among the motifs are paulownia trees, floating grasses, deer, dragonflies, and water.