11 lines of text; red seal in URC, square red seal in LLQ; light blue-grey paper with floral and leaf watermarks; bamboo roller ends

On Becoming Fifty, 1836

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Ema Saikō was an outstanding female literatus of her time who was undertaking Chinese studies and arts. She wrote this Chinese-style poem on elegant blue paper with a delicate design of bracken.

As I become half a hundred, I begin to understand past mistakes;
Slowly, slowly, my intentions have been thwarted.
Cranes are tall, ducks short—it is not humans who made them so.
Fish leap, hawks soar—all following the course of nature.
My desires have faded away like spring snow,
Old friends have vanished like stars at dawn.
In the end, there is no use in potions for longevity,
I only love to paint bamboo, its verdure reflected on my robe.

Details
Title
On Becoming Fifty
Artist Life
1787 - 1861
Role
Calligrapher
Accession Number
2013.63.37
Curator Approved

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11 lines of text; red seal in URC, square red seal in LLQ; light blue-grey paper with floral and leaf watermarks; bamboo roller ends