Poling a Boat in the Moonlit Water, 1866

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Two men pole a boat through the water. The reflection of the full moon is fractured by the boat's wake. The water's blue color suggests the clear sky of a moonlit night. The image may depict Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake. If so, the pagoda on the distant mountain range is Ishiyamadera Temple, located on the southern end of the lake, and long renowned as a good spot from which to view the full, harvest moon. As the date written on the print indicates, the print was made in autumn of 1866. An unidentified poetry association probably commissioned it to commemorate their gathering on the night of the harvest moon in late September. Interestingly, all twenty-three poems directly mention the moon, but Hanzan playfully avoided depicting the moon itself.

Poling a Boat in the Moonlit Water
Artist Life
1818 - 1882
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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