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Asian Art
Artist: Senryū, Japanese, active ca. 1825–1850

Still Life with Drums

ca. 1840

Surimono, horizontal chū-ban; polychrome woodblock print with brass and silver pigment and light gauffrage

sheet: 6 7/8 × 9 7/16 in. (17.4 × 24 cm)
Gift of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, B.A. 1970

泉龍 でんでん太鼓他 江戸時代

The majority of surimono from the 1820s and 1830s are of the almost-square shikishi-ban format, most often commissioned by poetry clubs and typically featuring thirty-one-syllable waka poems. This surimono—with a date of about 1840, which makes it the latest on display—has a wider format and includes haiku rather than waka. Neither the artist, Senryū, nor any of the five poets (the last two poems were written by the same person) are identified. The imagery of the print is also unusual. The colorful and varied designs of the two percussion instruments appear to be of Chinese origin. The cloth behind the instruments, on the other hand, is so-called sarasa, or chintz, a block-printed, dyed cotton textile that could be Indian in origin. Foreign elements in the art of surimono are rare and come as an enriching surprise.

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, 1980 (on loan to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2017–2020); given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2020


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), 161–63, no. 44, 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.