Monday, May 23, 2011

Shiki Drawings: Walnut, Banana, Pineapple (& Old Fava Beans)

My last two posts have been on the Japanese poet Masaoka Shiki. I thought I'd share a few of his drawings today.

According to the labels supplied by the editors on the side of each drawing (smudged in this reproduction, sorry) they are, from top to bottom:

walnuts (くるみ)


pineapple (鳳梨)

 Aside from the rather odd shape of the pineapple (at first I thought it might be some deep sea fish or cancerous internal organ) a couple of other anomalies stand out.

In the top picture, you can see two groupings of nuts. The top left cluster are actually old fava beans. It is only the bottom right grouping which are the walnuts. The faintness of the writing just under the beans (古そらまめ)must have been missed by whoever labeled them — but the shapes of the two groups are distinctly different (though one fava bean does seem to be hanging out with the walnuts).

The second anomaly is the kanji Shiki used for the pineapple, hōri (鳳梨). Nowadays we would just write pineapple in katakana — パイナップル.

Anyway, not earth-shattering finds, but fun sleuthing nonetheless.

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