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Ôtagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875)
Set of 5 waka incised lotus shaped machawan, tea bowls for green tea (on the box: Ho hasu katachi kobachi small lotus shaped bowles)
Signed: Rengetsu
Technique: Grey crackled Kyôyaki incized with her poems (c.) Ø 12 x 6.5 (5x)
Condition: very good

1. よしだ山 / 松のこずゑに \ 月落て / きたしら川の / かねの音かな
Yoshidayama / matsu no kozue ni / tsuki ochi te / Kitashirakawa no / kane no oto kana.
On Mount Yoshida
behind the tips of the pines
the moon has fallen―
in Kitashirakawa
the sound of a temple bell.
(Rengetsu # 838)

2. 一枝もたをらばうけん栂尾の落ばはゆるせ秋の山もり
Hitoeda mo / taora ba uke n / Toganoo no / ochiba wa yuruse / aki no yamamori.
A twig broken is a sin
here at Togano'o
so permit me
some fallen leaves
O guardians of these autumn hills.
(Rengetsu # 154)

3. ほし柿の / 軒にやせゆく / 山里の / よあらし寒く / なりにけるかな
Hoshigaki no / noki ni yase yuku / yamazato no / yoarashi samuku / nari ni keru kana.
Dried persimmons
thinning under the eaves
of my mountain hut―
a night storm
brings a deep chill.
(Rengetsu # 631)

4. やどかさぬ / 人のつらさを / 情にて / おぼろ月よの / 花の下ふし
Yado kasa nu / hito no tsurasa wo / nasake ni te / oborozukiyo no / hana no shitabushi.
Turned away at the inn
I take this unkindness as grace...
resting instead
beneath the hazy moon
and evening blossoms.
(Rengetsu # 55)

5. 山ざとの / かべのやれ間の / きりぎりす / 月もここより / させよとぞ鳴
Yamazato no / kabe no yarema no / kirigirisu / suki mo koko yori /saseyo to zo naku.
In a mountain hut
at a break in the wall
a grasshopper
invites the moon in
with a chirp.
(Rengetsu # 131)

Rengetsu was born In Kyoto and within a few days after her birth adopted by the Ôtagaki family. In 1798 she moved to Kameoka castle to serve the Matsudaira family. Here she met with the woman pursuits as poetry and calligraphy, but received in training in martial arts as well. In 1807 she returned to her family in Kyoto where she married her adopted brother a young samurai called Mochihisa. In the 8 years of her marriage she gave birth to e children who all died shortly after their birth. In 1815 she divorced her husband who would shortly die. She remarried but already in 1823 her second husband died. She cut her hair and became a nun and took the name Rengetsu, Lotus moon.
With her daughter from her second marriage and stepfather she moved into a small building on the grounds of the Chion-in. Two years later her daughter died. She started composing waka poetry, but without means for support she moved to Okazaki in the area of Kyoto to produce pottery, studied waka intensively and studied Shijô painting with Matsumura Keibun (1779-1843) fell in love with him and lived together. In Okazaki a place with many artists she intensively trained to study waka. Although being a nun men approached her with advances, but not being interested, she pulled out her teeth to look less attractive and to strengthen her inner self Her pottery became such a big success that she escaped her customers many times and moved more than 30 times in one year even 13 times.
She became friends with Tomioka Tessai (1836-1924) and even tried to adopt him as a son. For the last 25 years of her life he helped and accompanied her. On the invitation of the Abbot Wada Gesshin (Gozan) (1800-1870) she spent her last 10 years of her life in a tea hut the Jinko-in temple and deeply immersed herself in the study of Buddhism and but also continued her artistic occupations.

Kyoto 2014
Canberra 2007
Kodansha 1971