KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849)
KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849)
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PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE INSTITUTION
KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849)

Sei Shonagon

Details
KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849)
Sei Shonagon
Woodblock print, from the series Shika shashin kyo (A true mirror of Chinese and Japanese Poetry), signed Zen Hokusai Iitsu hitsu, published by Moriya Jihei
Vertical nagaban: 20 x 8 ¾ in. (50.8 x 22.2 cm.)

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Takaaki Murakami(村上高明)
Takaaki Murakami(村上高明) Vice President, Specialist and Head of Department | Korean Art

Lot Essay

This print depicts a scene from the story of Moshokun (Meng Chan-kun). On fleeing from a neighboring kingdom he arrived at the frontier barrier at night only to find a notice that it would be opened at cock-crow. One of his retainers climbed up a tree and feigned the crowing of a cock setting all the other cocks in the neighborhood crowing. Thereupon the guards, thinking that dawn had arrived, unlocked and opened the gate through which Moshokun passed to the security of his native state of which he was the prince.
Sei Shonagon composed a poem alluding to this story; Yo o komete tori no sorane wa hakarutomo, Yo ni Ousaka no seki wa yurusaji which roughly translates "Though in the depth of the night, by the feigned crowing of the cock, some may be deceived, yet at Ousaka's gate this shall never be allowed."

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