Ryutatsu Bushi Fragment with Plum Underdrawing Calligraphy by Suminokura Soan Design by Tawaraya Sotatsu

  • Calligraphy by Suminokura Soan Design by Tawaraya Sotatsu
  • Momoyama period
  • 17c
  • Hanging scroll, ink, gold and silver on paper
  • H-33.8 W-89.9
Catalogue Entry

Momoyama period, 17th century (dated 1605)
Hanging scroll, ink, gold and silver on paper
Height, 33.8cm; width, 89.9cm

The Ryutatsu Bushi verse form was begun by Takasabu Ryutatsu of Sakai, and it became a fashionable verse form during the Keicho era (1596-1615). A handscroll with some 100 forms of this Ryutatsu Bushi verse was created, later separated into segments, and is at present distributed among numerous collections.

The defining characteristic of this handscroll lay in the woodblock-printed decoration of the support paper in gold and silver paint showing designs of plums, ivy, thin bamboo, and thick bamboo. The present work is a fragment of the plum section, and another example of a fragment of the plum section is in the Tokyo National Museum.

The end of this scroll is presently in the collections of the Kyoto Mingeikan and bears an inscription by Takasabu Ryutatsu himself dated in the 9th month of 160 (Keicho 10) in which Ryutatsu states that he has presented this scroll to Chaya Matashiro, famous as a wealthy merchant of Kyoto.

There is clearly a deep relationship between Tawaraya Sotatsu's underpaintings in gold and silver on handscrolls and this woodblock-printed gold and silver paint underpainting; however, it would be premature to determine a direct relationship with Sotatsu. HK