rubbing: eight lines of tightly spaced characters; last three lines are slightly smaller; dark brown paper mount

Poem of 1849, 1849

Not on Viewexpand_more

This work is a rubbing, an impression of inscriptions carved into stone made by placing a sheet of moistened paper over the surface and tapping with a ball of cloth soaked in ink. For centuries, rubbings played an important role in transmitting calligraphy because it allowed for accurate reproductions of not just the content but also the writing style.

This work preserves a poem by Fujita Tōko, a Confucian scholar. Fujita was exiled in 1844 when his lord Tokugawa Nariaki was forced into retirement. In the poem, Fujita
expressed his devotion to the cause of restoring power to the Emperor, a sentiment that ultimately grew among samurai and led to the Meiji Restoration.
Three times [I was] prepared to die, but did not.
Twenty-five times [I] crossed Tōsui [Tone River].
Five times, [I] sought a quiet place [to retire] but did not obtain
In thirty-nine years I moved to seven places.
The rise and decline of a state is not by chance.
How could the achievements and disappointments of life be
The dust and filth that covers [my] skin surprises me.
The loyalty and justice that still remains fills my whole bone and
Do not expect Piao Yao and Ding Yuan
Vainly plan by myself like Qiuming
and Maqian*
If [I can] reveal the great cause and rectify the human spirit
There is no worry that the way of the Emperor will not begin again.
This spirit is stirred; I pledge to the gods.
As the ancients say: [I am determined to fight] until my dying day.
Huo Qubing (140 bc–117 bce), Chinese general
Ban Chao (32–102 ce), Chinese general
Zuo Qiuming (556–451 bce), Chinese historian who wrote The Commentary
of Zuo (Zuo Zhuan)
Sima Qian (c. 145–c. 86 bce), Chinese historian who wrote the Records of the
Grand Historian (Shiji)

Poem of 1849
Artist Life
1806 - 1855
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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rubbing: eight lines of tightly spaced characters; last three lines are slightly smaller; dark brown paper mount