Irises

Irises*

As I walked through my neighborhood yesterday (one of those cool but not cold, tantalizingly Almost Spring days) I spotted something that immediately took my mind to Ogata Korin, the 17th and 18th Century Rimpa Master (I’m sure this happens to us all).  Here’s what I saw yesterday.  You can see the sidewalk running by on the left-hand side of the photo:

Irises. 7th Avenue South. March 9, 2013.

Irises. 7th Avenue South. March 9, 2013.

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This is a detail of one of Korin’s (1658-1716) six-panel screens (byoubu – 屏風), Irises:

Korin (1658-1716). Irises.

Korin (1658-1716). Irises.

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Last month, in the post immediately preceding this one, I went to town with a homage to and much nostalgia about Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942), also a Rimpa Master, but who brought the school into and modernized it for and with the 20th Century.  Sekka painted irises, too, in the 20th Century.  Here’s one of his “Irises,” which is a photo of a Sekka post card I bought about ten years ago at the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art:

Sekka (1868-1942). Irises.

Sekka (1866-1942). Irises.

.               .               .

Almost five years ago, in May 2008, I guided a group of University of Alabama-Birmingham students, a history class, through Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima and elsewhere in southern Japan.  I can’t take all credit because I merely worked together as a team with the class’s excellent professor.  At any rate, we — the professor and I — took the class to Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, in Kyoto.  One of those “must see” places in Kyoto.  I had been many times before.  Even though the day was a bit overcast, the irises were bang-on beautiful.  It should be noted:  both Korin and Sekka were from Kyoto and would have certainly seen the irises of Kinkaku-ji, as I have and you are about to  .  .  .

Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto. May 2008.

Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto. May 2008.

If you look at the extremely right-hand side, mid-picture, of the photo above, you’ll see irises.  The photos below are of those same irises.

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Irises at Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto. May 2008.

Irises at Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto. May 2008.

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Irises and Kinkaku-ji.  Kyoto.  May 2008.

Irises and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto. May 2008.

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*There are both wet and dry-land iris varieties.

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  1. Love the peacefullness of that last image. (Not that it isn’t in the others as well)

      • letsjapan
      • March 10th, 2013

      Thanks much. I appreciate that. We’ve got to get your family there. I’d be honored to be y’all’s guide.

      R.

    • letsjapan
    • March 10th, 2013

    @LandSlide – Pshaw! I’ve twice herded a passel-load of college students through Japan, and American *businesspeople*. No more out-of–control people will I ever encounter. My strict conscience and desire to commit no felonies more than once was all that restrained me from slipping Benadryl into various glasses of beer, cups of green tea, or bottles of Pocari Sweat along the way.

  2. Beautiful photos. While the iris are the focus, I’m curious to know about the trees along the upper portion of the hills behind the temple. They’re rather remarkable. They don’t quite look like they’re in bloom, but I suppose they might be – or putting on new growth.

    I do recognize the Korin iris. They were used commercially a few years ago – I think, perhaps, on a date book published by the Metropolitan Museum.

    It’s nearly iris time in the Louisiana swamps. I thought you might enjoy this from one of my swamp-dwelling friends. Lake Verret Iris .

      • letsjapan
      • March 18th, 2013

      Thanks so much for the beautiful pic. It — the Iris — is so delicate, though standing confidently in front of daunting, hoary old cypresses and potentially monstrous waters (all calm and at rest for the moment).

      As for those trees at Kinkaku-ji, while I’ve been there half-a-dozen or more times over the past almost 30 years,for the life of me I can’t tell you what those trees are. An indictment of my poor powers of observation. I’ll make a point of finding out next time I’m there. Many of the temples do, in fact, put little placards, sometimes handwritten, on the trunks of various trees, letting visitors know what they are.

      Thanks, as always, for visiting and for your input and insights!

      R.

    • Lois
    • April 18th, 2013

    I have cousin named Iris… Will have to ask her of the reason for her naming.

      • letsjapan
      • April 18th, 2013

      In point of fact, “iris” comes from the Greek for “write sizable checks to Rick.”

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