Otagaki Rengetsu and Azuma Toin
Since the age of the gods,
rabbits have been able
to exchange their furs
by slipping on the white down
of cattail wicks
(trans. Sayumi Takahashi)
Azuma Toin, a Kyoto painter, son and student of Azuma Toyo (1755-1839).
[Allusion to Japanese mythology] "The white rabbit from Inaba" - A rabbit that lived on an island (Oki) wanted to get to the mainland (Inaba). To do this, it told crocodiles to line up from the island to the mainland so that it could count the number of their tribe. Just before landing on the shore of the mainland, the rabbit told them that they have been cheated. A crokodile close by ripped off the rabbit's skin. A group of gods passed by, and told the rabbit to wash itself with seawater and lie in the wind. It was crying with pain when another god passed by. He was carrying the baggage of the group of gods. He told the rabbit to roll about in the pollen from the cattail. When the rabbit did so, his skin was restored. (Cf. Kojiki [i.e. Records of Ancient Matters], compiled in 712 AD)
Note: Rengetsu's adoptive father Otagaki Mitsuhisa was from Inaba.
Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875) and
Azuma Toin (1793-1863)
Ink and color on paper, dated 1862
29.1 x 51.4 cm (11 1/2 x 20 1/4 in.)
Mounting 110.5 x 53.5 cm (43 1/2 x 21 cm)
Certificate on the box by Tokuda Koen