Azusayumi 梓弓
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. azusa bow. The azusa 梓 tree is a kind of birch. The phrase serves as a pillow-word, makurakotoba 枕詞, or epithet, best known from two poems in Episode 24 of ISE MONOGATARI 伊勢物語 (The Tales of Ise). The story tells of a man who leaves his wife to work in the capital. The wife waits three years with no word from him and then decides to remarry. On the very first night she is with the new spouse, her first husband returns. The two exchange poems that start with the word azusayumi. The first husband leaves, but the wife pursues him. After much travail and failing to locate him, she collapses by a stream, inscribing one last poem on a rock in her own blood. It is this last scene that was most often chosen for illustration by artists, including Tawaraya Soutatsu 俵屋宗達 (?- 1643 ?) .

*ise monogatari-e 伊勢物語絵

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