Asian Art
Artist: Ogata Gekkō, Japanese, 1859–1920

Tadanori Beneath Cherry Tree, from Collection of Japanese Flowers (Nihon Hana Zu-e)

1899

Polychrome woodblock print

sheet: 14 1/2 × 9 13/16 in. (36.9 × 24.9 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Parker in memory of James Ried Parker
1985.78.5

尾形月耕 「日本花図絵 平忠度」 着色木版画 明治期

  
The poem in the white rectangle at the top right of this print reads, “At the end of the day, / making the shade of this flowering tree / my lodging, / the blossoming tree is / the master tonight.” A historical account tells us that when the poet Taira no Tadanori (1144–1184), the seated samurai shown here, was beheaded in a battle between the rival clans of the Taira and the Minamoto during the twelfth century, this waka poem was attached to his quiver. Ogata Gekkō depicts Tadanori holding a brush and paper, about to write these lines—perhaps anticipating his destiny. The falling cherry blossom petals call to mind the Second World War, in which Japanese kamikaze pilots used such petals as a metaphor for their courageous, but suicidal, missions.

Geography: 
Japan
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Japanese
Period: 
Meiji era (1868–1912)
Classification: 
Works on Paper - Prints
Provenance: 

With Mrs. James Reid Parker (Ruth Lerrigo Parker), Hamden, Conn., by 1985; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1985

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.