Section of a handscroll mounted as a hanging scroll; ink on paper
Image: 14.4 x 39.9 cm (5 11/16 x 15 11/16 in.); Mounted with knobs: 91.2 x 56.9 cm (35 7/8 x 22 3/8 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leighton R. Longhi 1989.119
General Blackbeard laments having smelly ash poured upon him by his angry wife in one of the poems.
This hanging scroll was once part of a handscroll depicting a waka (thirty-one syllable verse) poetry contest between characters from the 11th-century literary classic Tale of Genji. In this section, a woman known informally as Kumoi no kari, or “Goose in Fog,” after a lovelorn line she hums in the novel, is pitted against Higekuro no taishō, or “General Blackbeard.” Three of his poems, numbered 46 to 48, from “The Handsome Pillar” chapter appear over his image. The subsequent three poems inscribed above Kumoi no kari are presented as her “responses,” and come from "The Plum Tree Branch", “New Wisteria Leaves”, and "Evening Mist" chapters.
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