Title: Eight Views of Nara (each with accompanying poem)
Handscroll: ink and light colors on paper
George and Mary Rockwell Collection
The idea of celebrating a particular locale by depicting it with eight different views originated in China with such series as the "Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers" and then became popular in Japan. In this handscroll the "Eight Views" are chosen as poetic imagery evoking Nara, the ancient capital of Japan. The eight views are "The Moon on the Sarusawa Pond," "The Bell of the Todaiji Temple," "Snow on Mount Mikasa," "Travelers at the Todoroki Bridge," "Fireflies along the Sahogawa," "Wisteria at Nan'endo," "Deer at the Kasugano Field," and "Rain at Kumoizaka." The scene reproduced here is an illustration of "Fireflies along the Sahogawa" with an accompanying poem by Fujiwara no Kintada (1323-1383): Flickering fireflies reflected in the shallows of the Saho River reveal the depth of my emotions. The painter Tosa Mitsuyoshi, the grandson of Mitsunari (1646-1710), served the court as a leading Tosa school painter. This handscroll reflects the more restrained side of the Tosa style that emerged in the eighteenth century under his hand: he has given us a purely Japanese subject done in a muted, understated manner, utilizing soft washes and gentle brushstrokes to suggest rather than describe a place charged with great sentiment to those who knew the ancient capital well. (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
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.