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tanomura chikuden unge letter view-1

Tanomura Chikuden | Letter


The rain, writes Chikuden, kept him from visiting his old friend Unge Daigan in Kyoto. Daigan was a priest, poet, and a painter – a true literatus in a monk’s robe – and was teaching at the seminary attached to Higashi Honganji-Temple (which is today’s Otani University) in Kyoto. But given the fact that Chikuden lived several hundred miles away from Daigan, the rainy season wouldn’t be a good moment to go on travels anyway. Yet going to a nearby shrine seemed possible. A ginger plant stood in Chikuden’s way, giving him a deeper understanding of the world. And then he returned home. Since he didn’t want to wait for the sky to clear up again Chikuden sent his son to the shrine to pray for Daigan.


In the rainy season I could not visit you as it was raining all the time. Unexpectedly the sky cleared up and it turned autumn like. I thought it would be a good idea to go to Kibaru Shrine. But on the way there I stopped at a village and rested in a horse stable. There was a ginger plant growing about three or four feet high and I said to myself: We live our lives unworried but once we taste the world, we realize it can be spicy. Then it rained again, my friend. The morning was cloudy and wet. And the cricket is waiting to hear from a friend. These are the matters these days. There is nothing remarkable. I will write other things in another letter. About my going to the shrine will be in the letter after this. – 18th October. Old friend Unge – [signed] Kozo, [sealed] Chikuden. I wish you and those around you well. The other day I have sent my son [i.e., Tanomura Chokunyu (1804-1907)] to the shrine to pray for you.


The box is originally unrelated to the scroll. The inscription reads "Master Togai's White Robed Kannon". Inspected by Imotojo.


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Tanomura Chikuden (1777-1835)


Ink on paper

19 x 35.5 cm (7½ x 14 in.)

Mounting 126 x 52 cm (49½ x 20½ in)

Old wooden box with inscription.  

SKU: 2603
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