Monday, August 4, 2014


Illustrated is a wonderfully lyrical  bowl having a lotus like quality to the form by Buddhist nun and artist Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875). Her works on paper and clay are quite common but many are fakes created not only since her death but also during her lifetime attesting to her immense popularity. This bowl has the calligraphy thoughtfully incised about the surface evoking imagery of dancing snowflakes flittering about under a winter moon. Rengetsu not only created the canvas and poem but set about to create the atmosphere in which her poem takes place.
"A wind so chill-
The winter moon over the Katsura River
Casts a shadow so strong
It seems to freeze the rapids. Rengetsu" *
*Translated and authenticated by John Stevens

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