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Poem, by the priest Jien
Important Cultural Property
1 hanging scroll
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
H 32.7, W 57.7
Kamakura period/13th century
Formerly owned by Hosaka Junji
Nara National Museum
Jien (1155 – 1225) was a Buddhist monk of the Tendai sect in the early years of the Kamakura period and is one of the monks representative of the time. He was appointed abbot of the Tendai sect four times. His father was Fujiwara Tadamichi, the Kanpaku or the chancellor. His elder brother was Kujo Kanezane. Jien is well known not only for "Gukansho" (Jottings of a Fool) written based on his own unique historical view, but also as a poet. Many poems composed by him are contained in past anthologies of poems collected by Imperial command such as the New Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poems ( Shin Kokinshu). He also left "Shugyokushu," an individual collection of his poems.
 On this fine paper, two poems which were composed by Jien at a Japanese poetry party after the gratitude meeting are written. Ho-on-e is a Buddhist memorial service for Sarira held at Hiei Mountain every December. It was customary to hold a poetry party as a ceremony after Ho-on-e and compose two poems under the themes of "Lotus Sutra" (Hokkekyo) and winter season. The poems on this fine paper are composed under two themes; one is the "Life Span of Thus Come One" (the sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra and the other is nostalgia for the old days in snow. They are written with a facile pen but with bold strokes, creating an elegant taste. This fine paper was originally handed down in the Katsuranomiya Family.