Benefactors Bridge

In the last year of her life Freya spent some very happy times working behind the scenes in the department of Eastern Art of the Ashmolean museum.

As Clare Pollard the Assistant Keeper of Japanese Art wrote:

“We loved having [Freya] around and were all bowled over by her positive attitude and delightful, gentle but feisty personality, quite apart from appreciating the excellent work she did for us – so patiently and good humouredly waiting for her dreadfully ancient computer to respond, so carefully transcribing idiosyncratic symbols from the tsuba catalogue into the database, so enthusiastically looking through the uncatalogued Japanese photo albums…”

Freya’s colleagues in Eastern Art want to commemorate her on the Benefactors Bridge of the expanded Ashmolean Museum, and have chosen a haiku by the poet Fuso as her dedication.

In its seventeen short syllables the poem expresses some important ideas – the Buddhist notion of the fleetingness of all things and the poignant beauty to be found in the transient, the appreciation of the natural world, and the symbolism of the pure white lotus flower growing amidst the muddy waters of life…

Asatsuyu no
usura kiekeri
hasu no hana

[Upon the lotus flower
morning dew is
gradually disappearing]