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POEM SCROLL with DEER (known as Deer Scroll) was created by two prominent artists: calligrapher Hon’ami Kōetsu and painter Tawaraya Sōtatsu. On seventy-two feet of paper, Sōtatsu used gold and silver pigments to depict deer in various poses. On this scroll, Kōetsu transcribed twenty-eight waka poems selected from the thirteenth-century Japanese classic Shin Kokinshū (New Anthology of Classical and Modern Japanese Poetry). SAM owns the second half of the original scroll.
The Deer Scroll represents their most successful collaboration. It combines the image of the deer, a symbol for autumn in Japan, with the calligraphy of a selection of waka poems that also refers to autumn. The beautiful harmony of Kōetsu’s rhythmic calligraphy and Sōtatsu’s charming deer embodies the fresh sensibility of the time, often referred to as the Japanese Renaissance. More Information (pdf 164kb)