29.7 x 22.2cm leaf; 29.9 x 22.4 x 2.0cm closed book; 29.7 x 44.5cm open book:
a - [poem]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
b - [table of contents]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
c - Momoyo-gusa [Momoyo flowers]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
d - Nokiba no ume [A plum tree at the eaves]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
e - Kuroki uri [A maple tree seller]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
f - Gyoson [A fishing village]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
g - Kasugano [Kasuga plain]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
h - Yayoi [March]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
i - Tatsunami [High waves]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
j - Fukami-gusa [Peonies]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
k - Yatsu-hashi [Eight folded bridge]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
l - Tsuta [Ivy]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
m - U-no-hana (Deutzias); 29.7 x 44.5cm
n - Tadanori (A warrior drawing); 29.7 x 44.5cm
o - Fuji [Mt Fuji]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
p - Suehiro (A folding fan); 29.7 x 44.5cm
q - Asagao [Morning glories]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
r - Hakuhô [A white pheonix]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
s - Sato no yuki [Snow in the countryside]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
t - Nomiya (A No actor with a mask); 29.7 x 44.5cm
u - Shirasagi [A white egret]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
v - Secchû no take [Bamboo in snow]; 29.7 x 44.5cm
w - [Dates of printing, publication, aritst's name and; 29.7 x 44.5cm
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
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.
Ann Macarthur, Look Jun 2012, 'Inspired by Sekka', pg.28, Newtown, 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 2012, Sydney, 2012, 142-151 (colour illus.). cat.no. 82
AJIOKA Chiaki (Curator), Heroes and villains: from Japan's floating world May 2001, Sydney, May 2001, 6. cat.no. 1.8
Heroes and Villains, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 May 2001–19 Aug 2001
Kamisaka Sekka - Dawn of modern Japanese design, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 21 Jun 2012–26 Aug 2012