Description At the lower right of the tsuba, a dog sits among reeds with a skull and a skeleton. A full moon breaks through clouds at the upper right. This scene is a traditional reference to the noh play "Kayoi Komachi" (The Nightly Courting of Komachi). Ono no Komachi was a 9th-century poet. In the play, her spirit and the spirit of her suitor, Fukakusa no Shôshô, appear to a priest. The priest deduces that one of the ghosts is Ono no Komachi because the ghost makes a reference to her poem about pampas grass growing through a skull. On the back, the straw hat at the lower left is an allusion to a legend about Ariwara no Narihira finding Komachi's skull while he was traveling.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Date] 慶應二丙寅南呂; [Transliteration] Keio ni hi-no-e tora nanro Unno Moritoshi kore o kizamu; [Translation] Eighth month in the second year of Keio (1866), the year of the Tiger; [Signature] 海野盛壽刻之; [Transliteration] Keio ni hi-no-e tora nanro/Unno Moritoshi kore o kizamu; [Translation] This was engraved by Unno Moritoshi
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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