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Asian Art
Artist: Totoya Hokkei, Japanese, 1780–1850

Dried Salmon with a Quiver

late 1810s

Surimono, shikishi-ban; polychrome woodblock print with gold and silver pigment and gauffrage

sheet: 8 1/8 × 7 3/16 in. (20.7 × 18.2 cm)
Gift of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, B.A. 1970

魚屋北渓 乾鮭と破魔弓 江戸時代

Fish and shellfish were bountiful in Japan, but while salmon had been abundant in Ezo (present-day Hokkaido), the northernmost island of Japan, it was relatively new to the Japanese diet in the Edo period. Both the dried salmon and miniature quiver seen in this print are associated with the New Year; salmon is often prepared as part of a luxurious celebratory meal, and a quiver purchased at a shrine “clears the evil spell” and helps usher in a happy year. The poems on the print are loaded with puns and references to cultural practices of the time. The first poem seems to indicate that the miniature quiver set was presented to a family’s firstborn son. Gauffrage is only lightly used, on the salmon’s body, but the coloring shows sophistication, with exquisite line drawings and the subtle rendering of the fish in silvery blue.

On view
Edo period (1615–1868)
Works on Paper - Prints

Hayashi Tadamasa (1853–1906) (2 seals), Paris, France. Eugene Biederman. Acquired by Joan B. Mirviss (dealer), New York; sold to Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, Koenigstein im Taunus, Germany, 2009 (on loan to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2017—2020); given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2020


Helena Markus, Surimono: stampe augurali nel Giappone del ‘700 e ‘800, exh. cat. (Florence: M.L. Giusti, 1983).

Sadako Ohki and Adam Haliburton, The Private World of Surimono: Japanese Prints from the Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian Collection (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2020), 93–95, no. 21, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.