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Not currently on display at the V&A

Ono no Komachi

Woodblock Print
1843-1847 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In this 'uchiwa-e' (rigid fan print) design Hiroshige depicts the famous ninth-century poetess Ono no Komachi. The elegant scene shows her awake in her room at night. The 'waka' (31 syllable) poem in the red cartouche reads: 'Omoitsutsu / Nureba ya hito no / Mietsuran / Yume to shiriseba / Samezaramashi o' (It must have been because I fell asleep tormented by longing that my lover appeared to me / Had I known it was a dream, I should never have awakened). Ono no Komachi has been described as the first Japanese to have recreated in poetry the torment of frustrated passion. Her renown was such that she was included both among the tenth-century 'Rokkasen' (Six Poetic Geniuses) and the eleventh-century 'Sanjurokkasen' (36 Poetic Geniuses). Artists used these formulae extensively in later centuries. Here Hiroshige has used it in specific relation to women poets.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleThe Thirty-six Women Poets (series title)
Materials and Techniques
Colour print from woodblocks
Brief Description
Woodblock print, Utagawa Hiroshige I; 'Ono no Komachi', from the series 'The Thirty-six Women Poets'; fan print, Japanese, 1843-1847
Physical Description
Fan print, aiban size. Artist signature: Hiroshige ga. Publisher mark: Enshuya Matabei. Censor seal: Hama.
Dimensions
  • Approx. height: 220mm
  • Approx. width: 290mm
Style
Credit line
R. Leicester Harmsworth Gift
Summary
In this 'uchiwa-e' (rigid fan print) design Hiroshige depicts the famous ninth-century poetess Ono no Komachi. The elegant scene shows her awake in her room at night. The 'waka' (31 syllable) poem in the red cartouche reads: 'Omoitsutsu / Nureba ya hito no / Mietsuran / Yume to shiriseba / Samezaramashi o' (It must have been because I fell asleep tormented by longing that my lover appeared to me / Had I known it was a dream, I should never have awakened). Ono no Komachi has been described as the first Japanese to have recreated in poetry the torment of frustrated passion. Her renown was such that she was included both among the tenth-century 'Rokkasen' (Six Poetic Geniuses) and the eleventh-century 'Sanjurokkasen' (36 Poetic Geniuses). Artists used these formulae extensively in later centuries. Here Hiroshige has used it in specific relation to women poets.
Collection
Accession Number
E.2933-1913

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record createdNovember 19, 2003
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