The wheels of the oxcart were made of wood, which could dry out and crack or split if not used for several days. Therefore, the wheels were removed and soaked in the river. This scene from those days is patterned in what is also known as the "katakuruma pattern. It is a metaphor for life itself being swept away by the currents of the world, and expresses a uniquely Japanese sense of impermanence and nature.
The wheel is inlaid with mother-of-pearl inlay of finely split white butterfly shells along the curved surface, and elaborate lines are drawn in gold maki-e. The upper wheel is drawn in Kinpira Makie. Flowing water is drawn with free and moving lines in Kinhira-makie.
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