‘With pleased sounds the deer call to one another, eating the grass of the fields.’ This is a line from a poem entitled ‘Lù Míng’ (Deer Calls’) from the Chinese book of classic poems, ‘Shi Jing’ (Book of Songs) and it describes the way in which deer, having discovered food, do not keep it to themselves but call out to their friends. The poem then goes on to describe how special guests should be entertained with food and music.
Yuki Hayama’s Rokumei, Deer’s Cry Perfume Bottle has a unique form that creates equal flat planes and curves.
There is a banded decoration along the lid and the shoulder of the piece. The main imagery on the body of the form is flat and wide, drawn from a far perspective, reminding us of the Japanese woodblock paintings by Utagawa Hiroshige.
The deer dance together in colors of blue, red, and yellow along the body of the form. Their motions are illustrated, almost blending into the background decoration of the form - lush green leaves and branches fill the background composition and the deer sit on a braided, green floor.
The lid of the perfume bottle is a miniature of the illustration on the body of the form. The deer here dance along the limits of the border, the imagery is faded and dream-like.
The only iteration of this motif in our collection, Rokumei is filled with sweet repetition, reminding us of childhood stories.