Crow on Snow-covered Plum Branch
Place Made: Japan; Place Made: Tokyo
Sheet: 37.5 x 51.5 cm (14 3/4 x 20 1/4 inches)
Signature / Inscription / Marks
[text and poems] Ume wa ginshin o tomonai (translates to) The plum accompanies their squawking forms, ko koromo o osou (translates to) Its fragrance assaults their feathers. senken taru soei shoi ni noboru (translates to)Beautiful shadows of the branches in the moonlight kyorai yado ni sumu isso no kasasagi (translates to) Climb towards the study curtain. hanya tsuki akaruku naite toban to hossu (translates to) The pair of crows that have lodged in my house/Cry and make to fly away,/Under the bright moon in the depths of the night. (trans. Clark, see ref. below)Signed Ryozan rofu dai su (inscribed by the Old Man of Mount Ryo [Mount Liang]); sealed Kubota uji in and Ryozan. The cat. entry in Clark (see ref.) states that the poem is imitating the calligraphy of a Kubota Ryozan, the Old Man of Mount Liang. One Chinese character of the poem is unclear: the seventh character and which follows the character for "one" in the second column from right. It may mean "pair" as in the Clark translation (issho, in Japanese) or possibly "summer" or "dream." Kasasagi is a type of crow. The poem is open to interpretation. An uncredited translation appears in the RISD catalogue file: In company with the plum blossoms/their fragrance pervading/the beautiful shadows lie/sparsely on the ground/whence come the raven here/this eve with moonlight clear/he cries yet does not fly awayReading the second character differently from Clark as "ritsu" (poem) yet another transliteration and interpretation of the poem is possible that more concerns the poet as he is writing the poem:Ume no uta o ginshin sureba koromo ni kaori wa kasanaru senken taru soei shoi ni noboru kyorai yado ni sumu isso no kasasagi hanya tsuki akaruku naite toban to hossu Humming to myself a poem on plum blossoms my outer cloak is permeated with their fragrance and moonlight makes beautiful shadows of their branches on the curtains; Where did you come from, crow, to lodge in my house? Under the bright moon in the depths of the night you cry,yet you do not fly awayThe last two lines may also have the meaning that the poet wishes he could cry and make to fly away like the cry. The poet is indicated by the imagery: humming= his ears; scent=his nose; shadows in the moonlight=his eyes.
Signature: Signed at right | Seisei Kyosai ga
Seals: Kubota uji in | Ryozan
Credit / Object Number
Gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Use & Feedback
The images on this website can enable discovery and collaboration and support new scholarship, and we encourage their use.
This object is in the Public Domain and available under a CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication
Unknown Maker, Japanese, publisher
To request new photography, please send an email to email@example.com and include your name and the object's accession number.
We view our online collection as a living documents, and our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you have additional information or have spotted an error, please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.