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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

Query builder

Moonlight and calligraphy

Accession Number

Moonlight and calligraphy

Sakai Hôitsu

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
fan painting, ink on paper

8 11/16 in x 19 5/16 in (22.1 cm x 49 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label 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

Primary Object Type
fan painting

Collection Area

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album leaf
fans (costume accessories)

3 Related Resources

Celestial bodies
(Part of: Natural World)
Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

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