20 Mar 2006

An Ukiyoe by Koson


Koson - Bird and Begonias
Bird and Begonias, Koson Ohara (1877-1945) c.1910

Subject: A silhouetted bird flying through the driving rain, beneath it sprays of flowering Begonia.

The same essential image was recorded almost 1200 years earlier in Europe.

Venerable Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of England, Book II, Chapter 7:

The present life of man, O king, seems to me, in comparison of that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the room wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry storm; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant.


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