Changing View of 100 Poems by 100 Poets

Changing View of 100 Poems by 100 Poets
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Artists of the late seventeenth century created portraits (mostly imagined) of the poets to appear next to the poems in woodblock-printed books; commentaries were added to aid the reader. By the late eighteenth century, general literacy allowed artists to camouflage arcane references to these poems within a picture. Hokusai’s conceit was to imagine how a present-day wet nurse might interpret, or misinterpret, the imperial poems. This combination of historicizing and satire reflects the sensibility of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

- Hollis Goodall, Curator, Japanese Art (2007)