“Kohitsugire: Ancient Calligraphy Fragments”

Nezu Museum


Kohitsugire are fragments of ancient calligraphy manuscripts. These sections or pages of text were originally part of scrolls or books such as the famous “Kokin Wakashu,” an Imperial anthology of poetry popular with aristocrats during the Heian and Kamakura periods.

The fragments, which were deliberately removed from their original sources, usually contain several sentences and drawings. They were displayed at events, such as tea ceremonies. Though it is hard to imagine cutting pages from important books, had these texts not been removed, many people may never have been able to see them.

On show are about 45 kohitsugire, each showing skilled calligraphy and decoration — the qualities that stood out enough to have someone deem them as worthy artworks in their own right; till Aug. 14.

Nezu Museum, (03) 3400-2536, 6-5-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku; 8-min. walk from Exit A5 of Omotesando Station, Ginza, Hanzomon or Chiyoda lines. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ¥1,000. Closed Mon, except July 18, and closed on July 19. www.nezu-muse.or.jp.