《Detached Segment of Poem Anthology Kokin-wakashu, known as "Koya-gire"》
Heian period, 11th century Sumi on paper
This detached segment is from the “Koya-girebon,” the oldest copy of the Kokin-wakashu poetry anthology, which was compiled at the behest of the Daigo Emperor and completed in 905. The original has not survived. The “Koya-girebon” dates from the eleventh century and consisted of twenty scrolls, of which scrolls 5, 8, and 20 survive intact. Parts of scrolls 1, 2, 3, 9, 18, and 19 also survive. A early account implies that as of 1544, the Konoe family had all twenty volumes. Over the years, however, they have been separated and scattered. Examining the surviving “Koya-girebon” in terms of calligraphic style, we can categorize it into three groups: scrolls 1, 9, and 20, scrolls 2, 3, 4, and 8, and scrolls 18 and 19. The project was seemingly a collaborative effort by three talented calligraphers. The writer of the first group, which includes the first and last scrolls, also composed the titles for each scroll and probably was in charge of the “Koya-girebon.” This fragment begins with the headnote Sakura no hana no sakari ni (At the height of the cherry blossom season) and is from the end of the first scroll. Perhaps when remounting it as a hanging scroll, one line of text was scraped off, to provide space on both sides of the paper. Each of the five poems included is a waka on the subject of cherry blossoms. The glittering substance above the white hemp paper is mica powder. Lavishly sprinkled all over the surface, it calls to mind the elegant grace of Heian court culture.