Moonlight and calligraphyArtist(s)Sakai HôitsuObject Creation Date1798-1828Medium & Supportfan painting, ink on paperDimensions
8 11/16 in x 19 5/16 in (22.1 cm x 49 cm)Credit LineMuseum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection FundLabel copy
In Japan, moon viewing is usually associated with autumn, but Hôitsu avoids that cliché in this image of a summer moon at dawn. This fan was probably painted to accompany the suggestive yet humorous poem inscribed on its surface in a cursive hand; it may be loosely translated as
Damp with the dew of summer grasses, my cloak
is barely dry before
my sleeves are wet with tears
in the moonlight of the dawning sky.
[Adapted from a translation by Milan Mihal.]
“Sleeves wet with tears” is a conventional reference to the sorrow of parting from a lover. The poem thus narrates the complaint of a man who has made a surreptitious night visit (scrambling through the bushes, no less) to visit his paramour but now finds that the night is over before his clothes have dried. Hôitsu’s wet ink washes well match the moist atmosphere of the poem.Primary Object Classification Painting Primary Object Typefan paintingCollection AreaAsianRights
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fans (costume accessories)