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Ariwara no Narihira (AD 825-880), one of the Six Immortals of Poetry (rokkasen), was thought to be the hero of the Tales of Ise. Here, he and his attendants admire the Tatsuta river near Kyoto, on whose pale blue sparkling surface float fallen, scarlet maple leaves. Overcome with the beauty of this sight, Narihira is said to have composed a poem, having been reminded of a screen depicting bright red maple leaves upon a blue tie-dyed cloth which belonged to one of his lovers. The lover subsequently became consort to the emperor. Ariwara no Narihira is also depicted on the netsuke EA2001.106.
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The netsuke is a form of toggle that was used to secure personal items suspended on cords from the kimono sash. These items included purses, medicine cases or tobacco paraphernalia.