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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Period: Meiji period (1868-1912)
Title: I listen to the sound of cloth being pounded as the moon shines serenely and believe that there is someone else who has not yet gone to sleep--Tsunenobu. No. 14 from the series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon
Date: 1886
Medium: Color woodblock print
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Libertson
Object Number: 2000.156.008
Label Text: One night, the Heian court official Tsunenobu was viewing the moon when he heard the sound of clothes being pounded with a mallet. He then recited an eleventh-century tanka poem by Ki no Tsurayuki that is the title of this print. When Tsunenobu finished reciting the poem, a hairy demon appeared in the sky and responded with a verse by the Chinese Tang-dynasty poet Li Bo:

In the northern sky geese fly across the Big Dipper
To the south cold robes are pounded under the moonlight

In the Chinese poem, pounding cloth for the purpose of washing or softening the fabric was associated with a wife waiting for her distant husband to return home. The poem that Tsunenobu recites seems to be addressed to a faraway lover who in the same moment might also be looking at the moon. (“Moon," curated by Ellen Avril and presented at the Johnson Museum August 25, 2018-January 13, 2019)

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.