Utagawa Toyoharu (1735-1814)
Utagawa Toyoharu (1735-1814)

Amagoi Komachi (Komachi praying for rain)

Utagawa Toyoharu (1735-1814)
Amagoi Komachi (Komachi praying for rain)
Signed Ichiryusai Toyoharu ga and sealed
Hanging scroll; ink, color and gold on silk
16¾ x 27¼in. (42.5 x 69.2cm.)

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Lot Essay

A story is told that during a period of severe drought that ravaged the country the Emperor Junna (r. 823-33) asked Ono no Komachi to write a poem praying for rain. In the Shinsen-en, the imperial garden in Kyoto, she recited her poem and hurled it, written on a poem slip, into the pond. Three days of heavy rain ensued. Her celebrated poem inscribed on this painting reads:

Kotowari ya
hi no moto nareba
teri mo sen
saritote wa mata
ame ga shita to wa

This may be the land
that lies beneath the sun, but
its light torments us.
Surely what we call this earth
lies also under the rain.

Previously sold in these Rooms, 31 October, 1995, lot 336A

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