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Loan Object
Artist: Totoya Hokkei, Japanese, 1780–1850

Seven Shells at the Edge of the Sea, from the series Shells Compendium (Kaizukushi)

1821 (Year of the Snake)

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

sheet: 8 1/4 × 7 3/16 in. (21 × 18.2 cm)
Promised gift of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, B.A. 1970

魚屋北渓 「貝尽く し」 江戸時代

This is one of a series of twelve shell prints designed by Totoya Hokkei and issued by the Fundarika-ren (White Lotus Club) in 1821. All twelve are rendered in subdued tones. In each print, the shells are carefully placed on a sandy beach with a debossed silver wave that is scattered with shiny particles in the background. The artist’s signature, “ōju Hokkei sha,” or “drafted by Hokkei on commission,” indicates that the image was executed (sha) in response to the poetry club who issued the print. There are a few subtle ways to indicate artists’ different approaches to making designs and images; here, sha emphasizes Hokkei’s faithful representation of the objects, whereas the words “brushed” (hitsu) or “painted” (ga) are often used for freer and more meditative interpretations.

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

Hayashi Tadamasa (1853–1906) Paris, France. Joan B. Mirviss (dealer), New York; sold to Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, Koenigstein im Taunus, Germany, 1996 (on loan to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2017—present)


Joan B. Mirviss and John T. Carpenter, Jewels of Japanese Printmaking: Surimono of the Bunka-Bunsei Era 1804–1830 (Tokyo: Ota Memorial Museum of Art, 2000), 84–85, no. 36.

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), 98–100, no. 23, 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.