Fragment of the second volume of Tsurayuki-shu, known as “Ishiyamagire”  Calligraphy by Fujiwara no Sadanobu

  • Calligraphy by Fujiwara no Sadanobu
  • Heian period
  • 12c
  • Hanging scroll, ink on decorated paper
  • H-20.2 W-16
    Important Art Object
Catalogue Entry

This is a fragment from the Tsurayuki shu collection. On deep green colored paper, gold and silver flakes were scattered, with branches and flying birds added in silver paint, giving it a very decorative and sumptuous appearance. Tsurayuki shu was part of the Nishi Honganji sanjurokunin shu, which was given to Honganji Temple by Emperor Go-Nara in Tenmon 18 (1549). Ever since the Tsurayuki shu and Ise shu were divided in Showa 4 (1929), this particular collection of poems has been referred to as "Ishiyama-gire," in which Ishiyama refers to the name of the locality in Osaka where Honganji Temple used to stand.

The calligrapher of the present work is Fujiwara no Sadanobu, who was reputedly a fast writer, so much so that he is said to have copied the entirety of all Buddhist sutras and associated literature called Issaikyo in only 23 years. Sadanobu was the preeminent calligrapher of his time, but because he was not a poet, his writing did not command as much respect. Sadanobu's own handwriting is often mistaken for that of the poet Fujiwara no Kinto (966-1041). Tsurayuki shu is the authenticated handwriting of Sadanobu and amply demonstrates his speed and grace of execution.