Rats and Rice Bales

Maker(s)
Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760-1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1843
Medium
Ink and color on silk
Dimensions
H x W (image): 91.5 × 30 cm (36 × 11 13/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1904.132
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

Keywords
Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, rat, rice, ukiyo-e
Provenance

To 1904
Michael Tomkinson (1841-1921), Kidderminster, England, to 1904 [1]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Michael Tomkinson in 1904 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Original Kakemono List, L. 433, pg. 115, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Michael Tomkinson (C.L. Freer source) 1841-1921
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Label

Rice bales are traditional emblems of wealth in pictures of the popular god Daikoku, one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune. Daikoku is not shown, but his association with this symbol of wealth, which he usually protects, may be one of many meanings embedded in this unusual picture. Perhaps it represents the fragility of accumulated wealth or possibly competition for survival among social groups or classes. This image may have expressed such meanings more vividly in the aftermath of the devastating Tenpo famine (1833-36).

Published References
  • Hokusai nikuhitsuga taisei [Compilation of paintings by Hokusai]. Tokyo. no. 278.
  • Ann Yonemura, Nagata Seiji, Kobayashi Tadashi, Asano Shugo, Timothy Clark, Naito Masatoshi. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 125, p. 35, 91.
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 148, p. 224.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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