A gold and silver four-case inrō in takamaki-e and hiramaki-e. To the front the summer moon (Natsu no Tsuki) dominates the night sky and to the verso a lone cuckoo (hototogisu) flies above the pine trees. The two sides connected by gold clouds that stretch across both sides and cover the top case.
The subject of a cuckoo and the moon has a long association with romance and has inspired many poems. Below is one such work by Otomo no Yakamochi (ca 718-785).
The poem was compiled in the Man’yoshu (“Collection of Ten Thousands Leaves”) “Hototogisu, ko yo naki watare, tomoshibi o, tsukiyo ni nasoe, sono kage mo mimu”
“Come and sing here, cuckoo. We would see you, with our lamplight for the moon”
The depiction of Pine (matsu in Japanese) means to wait and long for the beloved and completes a very romantic composition.
Signed – Kajikawa Bunryusai
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