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Title

Momoyo-gusa: Ichi


Artist

Kamisaka SEKKA

Japan

1866 - 1942


About

Kamisaka Sekka is considered to be one of Japan’s most significant artists, designers and art instructors of the first half of the 20th century. The three-volume 'A world of things' (Momoyo-gusa) is generally recognised as marking the pinnacle of Sekka’s design career.
Each volume contains 20 images appropriated from the established Rinpa repertoire, and inspired by Chinese/Japanese legend and folklore: irises, the Thunder god, plum blossoms, deer in autumnal settings, the moon behind waves, the maid of Ōhara and the Chrysanthemum boy, to name but a few. Sekka represents them as crisp, clear shapes defined by areas of opaque, brilliant aniline dyes that are captured from unconventional vantage points. In this way, he successfully re-enlivens these well-worn images and imbues them with a modern touch.

The title 'Momoyo-gusa’ is taken from a poem by Nobuyuki (dates unknown), which is reproduced on the first page of volume one:

At first, it was the beauty of the
cherry blossoms.
Now, as I grow older, the flowers of
a hundred worlds (momoyogusa)
leave seeds in my heart.

Momoyo-gusa is a poetic name for the chrysanthemum, an autumnal flower. It is enlisted in the above verse as a contrastive note to the cherry blossoms of spring and in turn becomes a comparison of youth with old age. In his title cartouche for the album, the eminent Meiji-era painter and calligrapher Tomioka Tessai (1837-1924) sets up a word play by writing the Japanese character for ‘one hundred’ twice, making it thus ‘flowers of ten-thousand worlds’ or ‘a world of myriad things’.

Kamisaka Sekka: A dawn of modern Japanese design, AGNSW 2012, pg 142.


Details


Alternative title

World of things: vol.1


Place where the work was made

Japan


Date

1909


Media categories

Print , Book


Materials used

folded book: 23 leaves, 20 prints, colour woodcut


Dimensions

29.7 x 22.2 cm leaf; 29.9 x 22.4 x 2.0 cm closed book; 29.7 x 44.5 cm open book :

a - [poem]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; text; leaf a and leaf b

b - [table of contents]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; text; verso leaf b and leaf c

c - Momoyo-gusa [Momoyo flowers]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf c and leaf d

d - Nokiba no ume [A plum tree at the eaves]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf d and leaf e

e - Kuroki uri [A maple tree seller]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf e and leaf f

f - Gyoson [A fishing village]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf f and leaf g

g - Kasugano [Kasuga plain]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf g and leaf h

h - Yayoi [March]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf h and leaf i

i - Tatsunami [High waves]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf i and leaf j

j - Fukami-gusa [Peonies]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf j and leaf k

k - Yatsu-hashi [Eight folded bridge]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf k and leaf l

l - Tsuta [Ivy]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf l and leaf m

m - U-no-hana (Deutzias); 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf m and leaf n

n - Tadanori (A warrior drawing); 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf n and leaf o

o - Fuji [Mt Fuji]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf o and leaf p

p - Suehiro (A folding fan); 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf p and leaf q

q - Asagao [Morning glories]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf q and leaf r

r - Hakuhô [A white pheonix]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf r and leaf s

s - Sato no yuki [Snow in the countryside]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf s and leaf t

t - Nomiya (A No actor with a mask); 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf t and leaf u

u - Shirasagi [A white egret]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf u and leaf v

v - Secchû no take [Bamboo in snow]; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; image; verso leaf v and leaf w

w - [Dates of printing, publication, aritst's name and; 29.7 x 44.5 cm; text; verso leaf w


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Purchased with the assistance of the Sidney Myer Fund 1991


Location

Not on display


Accession number

176.1991.1.a-w


Artist information

Kamisaka SEKKA

Works in the collection

4


Place

Where the work was made
Japan

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 3 publications

Bibliography


AJIOKA Chiaki (Curator), Heroes and villains: from Japan's floating world, Sydney, May 2001, 6. cat.no. 1.8

Ann Macarthur, Look, 'Inspired by Sekka', pg.28, Sydney, Jun 2012, 28 (colour illus.). This is an image of part k, Yatsu-hashi [Eight folded bridge]

Khanh Trinh (Editor), Kamisaka Sekka: dawn of modern Japanese design, Sydney, 2012, 142-151 (colour illus.). cat.no. 82