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Title

Momoyo-gusa: Ichi

1909


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


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]

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

Heroes and villains: from Japan's floating world, Sydney, May 2001, 6. cat.no. 1.8