Sumiyoshi Jokei (paintings) and various courtiers (calligraphy), pages from an album of Ise monogatari ('Tales of Ise')
Edo period, AD 1662-70
Ise monogatari is a collection of prose and poetry episodes (many on the theme of love) written in the tenth century by anonymous members of the court. These nine surviving sheets, from a high quality album, illustrate important episodes from the work. They have also been matched with the relevant poems and text in the elegant calligraphic hand of various court nobles contemporary with the artist.
The scene shown here is taken from Episode 9, 'Azuma-kudari: Fujinoyama' (Journey to the East: Mt Fuji). A man - traditionally identified as the courtier Ariwara no Narihira (AD 825-880) - travels past Mt. Fuji, and although it is the fifth month, the peak is still covered in snow.
In Episode 4, 'Nishi-no-tai' (West wing), also shown here, the man sits on the veranda of a mansion, with a white plum tree in bloom in the garden, and a full moon overhead. The lady of the house, whom he had courted, has disappeared, and he visits in her absence remembering their affair.
Jokei was trained in the Kyoto Tosa school of painting, and in 1661 was awarded the court title for distinguished artists, hokkyō ('Bridge of the Law'). This work displays a greater originality and simplicity in its compositions than is seen in other versions, and shows Jokei's customary round-faced figure style and clear, brilliant colouring.
The signature reads 'Sumiyoshi hokkyō hitsu' ('From the brush of Sumiyoshi of hokkyō rank'), and the seal reads 'Hokkyō'.
I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-1, vol. 2 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)
T. Clark, 100 views of Mount Fuji (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)
Length: 196.000 mm
Width: 173.000 mm (each)
Length: 196.000 mm
Asia JA JP 187-195 (1881.12-10.0326-34)
William Anderson Collection