(Sei Shonagon was born in Japan around the year 965 CE and served as a lady in waiting to Empress Sadako. In her Pillow Book, she gives an account of the things she saw and her feelings. Every now and then she provides a list of things, which are like tiny exhibitions organised by an unpredictable curator).
A white coat worn over a violet waistcoat.
Shaved ice mixed with liana syrup and put in a new silver bowl.
A rosary of rock crystal.
Wistaria blossoms. Plum blossoms covered with snow.
A pretty child eating strawberries.
Things That Should Be Large
Priests. Fruit. Houses. Provision bags. Inksticks for inkstones.
Men’s eyes: when they are too narrow, they look feminine. On the other hand, if they were as large as metal bowls, I should find them rather frightening.
Round braziers. Winter cherries. Pine trees. The petals of yellow roses.
Horses as well as oxen should be large
Things That Should Be Short
A piece of thread when one wants to sew something in a hurry.
A lamp stand.
The hair of a woman of the lower classes should be neat and short.
The speech of a young girl.
(Translation Ivan Morris – The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon – Penguin Classics)