large, bold angular calligraphy with curved, wispy brush strokes

Sound of Cold Air, 18th century


Two characters, one for “cold” and another for “sound,” appear to fuse into one in this work. The word kangoe refers to the sound of singers and monks practicing vocal exercises during cold mornings and nights to strengthen their vocal cords. The elongated form of the writing evokes the long breaths expelled from mouths, visible in cold weather. Kangoe also functions as a seasonal word in the poem and signifies late winter.

Buson was a Japanese poet and Chinese-style painter, and often accompanied his paintings with poems he wrote himself.
Sound of cold air
From the poem:
Oh, sound of cold air
whose child could it be
who recites old songs

Sound of Cold Air
Artist Life
1716 - 1783
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 531
Curator Approved

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large, bold angular calligraphy with curved, wispy brush strokes