19 June 2017

Marianne North and Wistaria


Marianne North came to Japan during 1875-1876 and visited Yokohama, Kobe and Kyoto and made a dozen of paintings including "Distant View of Mount Fujiyama, Japan, and Wistaria."  
Interested in her trails and what she drew in Japan, I decided to sketch some wistarias this Spring. 

I realised though, she was only in Japan for less than three months, from November to January, which is obviously not the Wistaria season.  In fact the Mt. Fuji in her painting has a lot more snow for Wistaria in early May.  So it seems that she painted it after her trip with some imagination!
The view of Mt. Fuji with the sea in front of it in her painting must had been the scenery she saw upon her arrival to the port of Yokohama.   

"I watched the sun rise out of the sea and redden its top, as I have seen so well represented on so many hand-screens and tea-trays. The mountain is a much steeper cone than Teneriffe or Etna, but has about the same quantity of snow on it. The coast is beautifully varied with ins and outs, islands and rocks, the cliffs everywhere fringed with trees and higher than I expected to see them, the water of the clearest aquamarine." (from "Recollections of a Happy Life" by Marianne North)



やっぱり野生にこだわりたいので、森の中のノダフジも見てきた。同じ林道を歩いていても、微妙に赤紫っぽい花と白っぽい花があるのが気になった。 遠目に見て気付くほどで、落ちている花を拾っても色の違いが分かった。

シーボルトは『日本の植物』の中で、「フジが四、五月にひとたび花をつけると、世のすべての階層の人々がこの藤棚のもとに集い、米でできた一種のビールである好みの「サケ」を飲み交わし、楽器の調べに合わせて舞いかつ歌って楽しむ。(瀬倉正克訳 八坂書房)」と書いている。昔の花見は、どうやら桜に限った事ではなかったらしい!

Strawberry geranium

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