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Reizei Tamechika (1823-1864)

Reizei Tamechika

Japanese, 1823-1864

Cherry Blossoms at Yoshino

Red Maples at Tatsuta River

Pair of hanging scrolls; ink and colors on silk

Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art

George and Mary Rockwell Collection

79.020.004 a,b

Ellen Avril, Chief Curator and the Judith H. Stoikov Curator of Asian Art

Reizei Tamechika’s pair of landscapes are examples of the revival of yamato-e, the style of Japanese painting that evokes classical Japanese themes and places. Here the artist depicts places of seasonal scenic beauty in Japan: on the right is Mount Yoshino, admired for its mountain cherry trees that blossom in spring, while on the left is the Tatsuta River and its myriad maple trees that turn brilliant red in the autumn.

A poet admires each scene, thus recalling famous poems about these locations. Mount Yoshino’s cherry blossoms inspired the poet Saigyo (1118-1190) to write this lyric:

Yoshino Mountain

Blossoms tumbled to the foot

Of trees, fastening

My heart there with them…

Waiting still for my return

-trans. William LaFleur

trans. William LaFleur

The maple trees along the Tatsuta River were the subject of this poem by Ariwara no Narihira (825-880) from episode 106 of the Tales of Ise:

Unheard of

Even in the age

Of the mighty gods—

These deep crimson splashes

Dyed in Tatsuta’s waters

trans. Helen McCullough

All information displayed here is from Ellen Avril, Chief Curator and the Judith H. Stoikov Curator of Asian Art. Thank you Ellen.