Sōtatsu: Making Waves

The Beach at Sumiyoshi, Tales of Ise, episode 68

The Beach at Sumiyoshi, Tales of Ise, episode 68The episode depicted on this fragment—formerly owned by businessman Masuda Takashi (1848–1938)—describesthree men traveling to Izumi Province who come across the Sumiyoshi shore. The scenery is so striking, they dismount from their horses to compose poetry extolling the view. The first man recites a poem acknowledging the appeal of autumn scenery filled with chrysanthemums and the cry of geese but states that the Sumiyoshi shore in spring is superior. In doing so, he makes a pun with the word sumiyoshi, which can also mean “pleasurable to dwell.” It is deemed such a remarkable verse that the other two men do not bother to write their own. The poetry sheet juxtaposes multiple views to portray this scene. The three men are depicted in large scale in the foreground, and the trees of Sumiyoshi are rendered as a distant view. The gold of the background represents both the shore and wafting clouds, which reveal a very large structure from the Sumiyoshi Shrine in the upper-left corner.

The Beach at Sumiyoshi, Tales of Ise, episode 68
Tawaraya Sōtatsu (act. ca. 1600–40)
Japan, 1600–40
Poetry sheet mounted as hanging scroll
Ink, colors, and gold on paper
Cleveland Museum of Art, John L. Severance Fund, 1951.398

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