Art on Tuesday: Poems on a Cherry Tree

ishikawa-toyonobu

This is an ukiyo-e of Ishikawa Toyonobu 石川 豊信 (1711-1785). It’s title is “Hanging Poems on a Cherry Tree”. The picture has much grace and elegance because of the spirited woman with her rich patterned kimono. The cherry tree is in full bloom. The scene expresses positive energy and hope. I think the poem is of a hopeful wish for a delightful future.

4 thoughts on “Art on Tuesday: Poems on a Cherry Tree

  1. Fantastic image. Is the practice of hanging the poems, supposed to be a way of getting the ideas, and/or the wishes “out there” (to use an American expression). If they are hanging poetry from a tree, and blowing with the wind, will spiritual beings or forces in nature read them? Is that the hope of the poet? …or is it just for decoration?

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    • It is a religious tradition in Japan to hang paper stripes with poems or wishes on trees at a shrine. These stripes are called omikuji おみくじ. You can write something yourself or buy a ready-made poem at the shrine. This is a magic ritual. The kami (Japanese spiritual beings or forces) are asked for help in this way, so that your wishes may come true. I do not know if they read it, it is more, that you write your wish down and let it go … Here is a good and lively explanation with some photographs, which I find useful http://zoomingjapan.com/wiki/omikuji-fortune-telling-paper-strips/

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  2. Thanks. I thought it might be something like that. I enjoyed the link too. I’m starting to think I should switch academic fields to Asian/Japan studies.

    Your comment “write your wish down and let it go ” is characteristic of my blogging :(ha ha.)

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