The Great Yodo River (Ōyodo) is a scene of unrequited love. In Sōtatsu’s rendering, a man and woman are on opposite banks of the Yodo River. A man reads a poem in which he proposes to a woman that they reside together in Ise. The woman rejects his advances with her own poem, describing herself as content simply to have seen him, punning the words “to see” (miru) with the “seaweed” (miru) in the Great Yodo River. Her verse is inscribed over a scene in which the waters of the river separate the two poets. The composition follows a convention often employed by Sōtatsu in which large-scale figures and distant scenery are joined by gold clouds. This work was formerly in the collection of businessman Masuda Takashi (1848–1938).
Ōyodo, Tales of Ise, episode 75
Tawaraya Sōtatsu (act. ca. 1600–40)
Japan, early to mid-17th century
Poetry sheet mounted as hanging scroll
Ink, colors, and gold on paper
Hosomi Museum, Kyoto