Emperor Tenji (Tenchi), from the series One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each, as Explained by the Wet Nurse

Maker(s)
Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760-1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1835
Medium
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 26 x 37.7 cm (10 1/4 x 14 13/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.212
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

Keywords
Anne van Biema collection, Edo period (1615 - 1868), emperor, farming, Japan, landscape, oban, poems, ukiyo-e, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Label

In 1835, at the age of seventy-six, the artist Hokusai began an ambitious series of one hundred print designs based on the anthology of Japanese classical poetry, One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each. The series was not completed, probably due in part to the economic duress caused by the Tempo Famine (1833-36). Only twenty-seven prints are known, but fifty-five additional images survive as Hokusai's original drawings for key blocks. Hokusai's print for the first poem of the series focuses entirely on the lives of common people who labor in a tranquil autumn harvest scene. The abundance and harmony of their lives reflect the compassion of their ruler, the Emperor Tenji (626-672) who composed the poem. It reads:

In the autumn fields
the hut, the temporary hut,
its thatch is rough
and so the sleeves of my robe
are dampened night by night with dew.

Translation of poem by Joshua S. Mostow (Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin isshu in Word and Image [Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996]

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 121, pp. 296-297.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.