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Unformatted text preview: ey were done by one of
the more joyous and refreshing personalities of the age.
Taiga’s friend Buson was both a noted painter and a master of haiku.
Like Taiga, he traveled frequently about the country and added much
that was Japanese to his essentially “Chinese” landscapes. Also like Taiga, Fig. 61 “Buddhist Temple among Cloudy Peaks,”
landscape painting in the literati (nanga) style
(Honolulu Academy of Arts, Gift of London Gallery,
Tokyo, 1975 [6162.1] ) Heterodox Trends 225 Buson did thoroughly charming caricature work that was undoubtedly influenced by the indigenous Japanese tradition of caricature, since Buson
is known to have studied the great twelfth-century Animal Scrolls of the
priest Toba. In the series of drawings he did to illustrate Bashò’s The
Narrow Road of Oku, Buson, as a writer of haiku who also traveled into
the northern provinces, has captured the spirit of this great travel account
so perfectly that, once having seen his illustrations of it, we have difficulty imagining how they could possibly have been done in any other
way. Indeed, Buson’s art might well be called the art of haiku, and some
of his most appealing works are known as “haiku pictures” (haiga)—that
is, pictures used to illustrate haiku, the texts of which are usually painted
in calligraphic brush style in the upper right-hand corners.
Some comment on Buson as a poet may help to enhance appreciation
of Buson the artist. In comparing Buson to Bashò, a Western critic has
said, “Bashò was gentle, wise, loving, and mystic; Buson was brilliant and
many-sided, not mystic in the least, but intensely clever and alive to the
impressions of the world around him. A foreign simile would be to liken
Bashò to a pearl, and Buson to a diamond.”17 Two poems will illustrate
both Buson’s cleverness and his sensitivity to impressions of the world
Spring rain: and as yet
the little froglets’ bellies
haven’t got wet.
with belated cherry blossoms
shilly-shallying.18 Although Taiga a...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.
- Spring '13