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Sojo Henjo - Katsushika Hokusai prints

Sojo Henjo

By Katsushika Hokusai

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Sojo Henjo - Katsushika Hokusai print

Katsushika Hokusai

Contact Scholten Japanese Art about Sojo Henjo By Katsushika Hokusai

Date: 1835

Medium: woodcut/woodblock/ukiyo-e, woodblock

Edition size: n/a

Sheet size: 26 by 38 cm

Condition: excellent

Signature: signed

Price: $22000 (excl. taxes)


From the series "The Hundred Poems [By the Hundred Poets] as Told by the Nurse," courtly dancers perform on a raised platform beneath blossoming cherry trees; signed zen Hokusai Manji, with publisher's seal Eijudoof Iseya Sanjiro and censor's kiwame seal, ca. 1835-6.

oban yoko-e 10 1/4 by 15 in., 26 by 38 cm

The poem is by Sojo Henjo (Yoshimine no Munesada, 810-850), a first cousin of Emperor Nimmyo who became a monk, taking the name Henjo, and later became a bishop (sojo). The poem dates from his years as a courtier.

Kumo no Kayoiji
Fuji-toji yo
Otome no sugata
Shibashi todomen

O ye winds of Heaven
In the paths among the clouds
Blow, and close the ways
that we may these virgin forms
Yet a little while detain

The poem seems to refer to an autumn rice harvest festival which was celebrated in the courts with a dance performed by unmarried daughters of the nobility. Munesada likens the dancers to angels, who can only fly through cloudless skies, willing that the clouds close the skies and keep the lovely dancers here on earth a little longer. While the palette of the print is autumnal, the trees have been colored the pink of cherry blossoms, perhaps an example of misinterpretation which can be attributed to the nurse.

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