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Pensive Beauty


A young woman pines for her lover who is away from home. During what appears to be a moment of anguish, the woman tries to find comfort by grasping the sleeves of her kimono. In deep thought, casting a downward glance, she clenches her teeth which are accentuated by dark green sasabeni on her lower lip. Plum blossom trees decorate the outer kimono rendered in spontaneous brushwork with gradations of ink wash. A thick green-toned obi is wrapped tightly around her waist.

The standing beauty is rendered in the Maruyama-Shijō school style of Kyoto, however, the painter did not sign his work. In the painting's right corner, a Chinese poem bearing the signature of Kikuchu Yosai has been inscribed. The poet would have composed this poem in reaction to the painting. This was a common collaborative process at the time, in which a picture produced by one painter was complimented by a poem based on the poet's interpretation.

In this case, the female figure is interpreted as a woman contemplating the faithfulness of her absent lover

The poem can be read as:

The husband is far away, but the wife is at home.

Under the morning cloud and the evening rain, her melancholy grows.

Dressed in thin clothes, she is worried if her husband ceased to be faithful.

She wishes to send her love, but the journey is too far.

It is possible that object information will be updated as new research findings are discovered. Please email if you can improve this record.

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