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Asian Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Ryūryūkyo Shinsai, Japanese, 1780–1820

Poet’s Studio in Homage to Bashō

1805 (Year of the Ox)

Surimono, double ō-ban; polychrome woodblock print

sheet: 17 × 22 1/8 in. (43.2 × 56.2 cm)
Gift of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, B.A. 1970

柳々居辰斎 芭蕉翁に因んで  江戸時代

The multi-talented artist and poet Ryūryūkyo Shinsai created surimono that depict still lifes of great variety and sophistication. Printed on the largest size washi paper available in the early nineteenth century, this work is divided horizontally into two sections: one has an image with dedicatory writings, and the other has kyōka poems. The portrait in the alcove is identified as Matsuo Bashō, the haiku master, and references one of his travel diaries called Kashima Kikō. The inscription on the image tells us that the poems are dedicated to the deceased kyōka poet known as “Imohori,” or the Potato-Digging [Monk]. One of Imohori’s poems, the third from right, written in white on the black tablet, features the autumn moon and recalls Bashō’s haiku, which are often almost philosophical in nature. It says, “The departing autumn / is also dear to / the people of Cathay: over this world / only one moon rises.”

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, 2019; 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), 168–71, no. 46, fig. 1.

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.