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Suzuki Harunobu (attributed to), Parody of Monk Saigyō gazing at Mt Fuji, a colour woodblock print

 

Height: 268.000 mm
Width: 208.000 mm

Bequeathed by Charles Shannon, R.A.

JA JA 1937.7-10.034

    Suzuki Harunobu (attributed to), Parody of Monk Saigyō gazing at Mt Fuji, a colour woodblock print

    Japan, AD 1765 or later

    This woodblock print is a 'parody picture' (mitate-e) which reworks the subject 'Monk Saigyō gazing at Mt Fuji' (Fuji-mi Saigyō). Saigyō was the pen-name of Satō Norikiyo (1118-90), a warrior in the service of Emperor Toba, who in 1140 took religious vows and left his family at court to travel the country and compose some of the greatest waka poetry in the Japanese language.

    One common depiction of an episode from Saigyō's life shows him as an aged man in monk's black robes, with walking stick and travelling hat, pausing on his journey to gaze in wonder at Mt Fuji.

    This is certainly the scene parodied here, the woman's long pipe suggesting Saigyō's stick. She can be identified as a courtesan by her sash (obi) tied at the front. She sits admiring a free-standing screen (tsuitate) painted with a view of Mt Fuji and Miho-no-Matsubara, leaning back as if overwhelmed.

    T. Clark, 100 views of Mount Fuji (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)

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