Komachi Washing Her Book of Poems


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    The Nana-komachi series is a popular topic used by various ukiyo-e artists in a form of mitate. It is based on the seven stories about the celebrated poet Ono no Komachi of the Heian period (794-1192), who was known for her outstanding beauty.

    Here a woman, as a mitate of Sōshiarai-Komachi, is reading a book. She wears a kimono with a cherry blossom similar to that of Sōshiarai-Komachi who is in the background in a cartouche, in which she kneels by a bowl, washing away the poem from the sōshi (poem book) to prove that it was her own work and not from an earlier time. Ono no Komachi’s name of Sōshiarai derives from this story.

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