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Loan Object
Artist: Yashima Gakutei, Japanese, ca. 1786–ca. 1855

New Year’s Sweets, from the series Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa)

1818 (Year of the Tiger)

Surimono, shikishi-ban; polychrome woodblock print with lacquer, silver pigment, debossing, and bokashi (fading technique)

sheet: 8 5/16 × 7 1/16 in. (21.1 × 17.9 cm)
Promised gift of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, B.A. 1970

八島岳亭 新年

のお菓子 江戸時代

The Japanese sweets called

are depicted here with great care. The sweets are made of pounded, cooked sticky rice and are decorated with powdery sugar. In the early eighteenth century, about 2,580 tons of sugar were imported to Japan annually. The country did not produce white sugar until the late eighteenth century. By the time this print was made, in 1818, the Japanese confectionary industry was at its peak, particularly in Edo, reflecting strong economic growth and popular demand. The three vertical lines at top right, under the debossed fan shape, read, “From the high veiled seat, sweets and wine were presented.” The sentence comes from a chapter on refined eating and drinking manners in Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa), written by Yoshida Kenkō in about 1330.
On view
Edo period (1615–1868)
Works on Paper - Prints

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), 106–7, no. 58.

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), 32–34, no. 3, 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.