|Closed||Mondays, except 5/2|
|Hours||10 am to 5 pm
(Open till 7 pm from May 10-15. Entrance closes 30 min. before closing)
|General admission||Adult 1300 yen, Student 1000 yen|
The season of the Irises screens has come once again. This time, we hope you will enjoy the masterpiece by Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716) in the context of waka poetry.
The Irises screens are believed to have illustrated a section from the classical poetic narrative, The Tales of Ise. This section of the work relates how the protagonist, who is on his way to the Eastern Provinces, notices the clusters of irises at Yatsuhashi in the province of Mikawa, and is reminded of the wife he has left in the capital (Kyoto). The climax of this scene comes when he composes a waka poem using the five syllables of the word for iris, kakitsubata to start the five lines of the poem. (In pre-modern Japanese, ha and ba were written the same.):
KArakoromo / KItsutsu nare ni shi / TSUma shi areba / HArubaru kinuru / TAbi o shi zo omou
Since I have a wife / familiar to me as the hem / of a well-worn robe, / I think sadly of how far / I have traveled on this journey. (trans. Newhard and Cook)
The symbolism of the imagery of the Irises screens virtually resonates throughout with the sentiment of this poem.
Japanese poetry and painting have long been intimately connected. From uta-e, “poem-pictures,” that express the meanings of poems and meisho-e, “famous place pictures,” depicting renowned locations that were celebrated in poetry, the relationship between poem and painting has unfolded in a diversity of forms, including paintings bearing poetic inscriptions, pictorial subjects adopted from lines of poetry, and groups of works such as genji-e, “Genji pictures,” illustrating poems extracted from narrative tales. This exhibition presents a selection of visual works that display these sorts of connections with waka poetry, providing a vivid backdrop for appreciating the Irises screens.
In addition to objects from the museum’s own collection, the exhibition also features a special loan of a three-volume handscroll of The Tales of Ise (private collection) that was produced in the Muromachi period, offering an ideal opportunity for experiencing the world of The Tales of Ise.