Portrait of the poetess, Saigu no Nyogo Yoshiko
Fujiwara no Nobuzane
Ink and color on paper
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Imperial princess Saigu no Nyogo (929985), one of the few women among the Thirty-six Immortal Poets, is shown in this imaginary portrait reclining behind a curtain. Her face is barely visible among multilayered garments and her long, flowing hair. A lacquer box for writing equipment, decorated in gold, lies open on the ledge of the platform beneath her tatami.
A biography of the princess written in Chinese characters is followed by one of her poems in two lines of cursive hiragana:
With the sound of the koto
The wind in the pines of the mountain peak
Seems to communicate
With which note shall I begin?