- Museum number
Painting, handscroll, pair with Jap.Ptg.Add.25. Scenes of various artisans and craftsmen at work including: hilt makers, cotton peddlers, tinkers, sweet sellers, sword polishers, 'sake' (rice wine) makers, traveling ascetics, shrine maiden, rich samurai with attendants on his way to pleasure quarters, charm seller from Kashima Shrine, tinsmith, lacquerware makers, florists, paper makers, turners, timber cutters, roofers, plasterers, umbrella makers, fishmonger, tub makers, fan makers, book peddler, and mirror polisher. Ink, colour and gold on silk. Signed and sealed. With paulownia storage box.
- Production date
- 1682 (or earlier)
Height: 27.50 centimetres
Width: 843 centimetres
- Curator's comments
'Scenes of craftsmen' ('shokunin-zukushi') had been a common subject for genre painters of the Kano school at the beginning of the Edo period, as the country reverted to peaceful commerce after the long civil wars. Moronobu is one of a very few Ukiyo-e artists to have taken up this theme in paintings and illustrated books such as 'Wakoku shoshoku e-zukushi' ('Pictures of All the Trades of Japan'), reflecting his general interest in life and customs in Edo ('Edo fuizoku'). The present handscrolls treat a total of fifty-two trades (twenty-four in the first scroll, twenty-eight in the second), and illustrated here are a doll-maker and paper-maker. Many of the trades depicted served the samurai class exclusively - armourers, arrow-makers, horse-breakers, and the like - and, indeed, many of the customers are clearly of samurai rank, with retainers shown waiting outside the shop. This may indicate that the works were painted for a samurai patron.
The present scrolls provide a good example of the kind of problems encountered in the connoisseurship of Moronobu paintings. The compositions are clearly by the master and the signatures appear authentic, but there are certain small deformations in the figure style and details careless in their execution that lead one to suspect that they were actually painted by a workshop pupil. Nishiyama Matsunosuke, in his detailed commentary on the scrolls ('UT', vol. 1 (1987), pp. 225-8) suggests that they might predate 1682, since they contain an advertising slogan, [']No. 1 in the Realm' ('tenka ichi') on the sign at the brush-maker's shop, the general use of which was prohibited in that year.
Tokyo National Museum (eds), 'Daiei Hakubutsukan shozo Nihon Chugoku bijutsu meihin ten' ('Masterpieces of Japanese and Chinese Art from the British Museum'). Exh. cat., 28 Apr.-7 June 1987, no. 22.
'(Hizo) Ukiyo-e taikan' ('Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections'), ed. Narazaki Muneshige. Vol. 1, Tokyo, Kodansha, 1987, nos 26-37.
Tokyo-to Bijutsukan (eds), 'Daiei Hakubutsukan hizo Edo bijutsu ten'. Exh. cat., 9 Aug.-24 Sept. 1990 no. 8.
The brushmaker scene includes a sign reading, "Tenka ichi" (First in the Realm). As Narazaki Muneshige notes in his discussion of this work in Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections, vol. 1, the Tokugawa shogunate in the eighth month 1682 issued a regulation banning general use of the phrase "Tenka ichi." Since this scroll depicts scenes of contemporary life, it was most likely produced early in, or prior to, 1682.
本作品は、師宣作品の鑑定の際の問題点をよく示している。構図は明らかに師宣のものであり、落款も一見本物である。しかし人物描写にはもんのわずかな歪みが見られ、細部の筆致には粗さがあるため、実際は工房の弟子によって描かれたのではないかという疑いがもたれる。西山松之助は詳細にわたる解説（楢崎宗重監修『秘蔵浮世絵大観』第1巻 1987年 講談社 225－8項）において、筆屋の看板に「天下一」の文句を唱うことが1682年に禁止されたため、この絵巻はそれ以前の制作であると述べている。
Hizo Nihon bijutsu taikan Vol 2
The artisan theme, derived from the medieval 'shokunin utaawase-zu', in which various trades were illustrated in pictures with accompanying poems, represents an important category of genre painting in the early Edo period.
Although the 'ukiyo-e' may be seen as a natural development from such early-Edo genre painting, it includes relatively few independent works depicting artisans - perhaps because this theme was not particularly popular with the general public. One example of an 'ukiyo-e' painting on this theme is the celebrated 'Kinsei shokunin-zukushi ekotoba' by Kuwagata Keisai, which was commissioned by Matsudaira Sadanobu (d. 1694).
The two scrolls depict a total of more than fifty different trades, including, in the first scroll, brush makers, armorers, mortar repairers, blacksmiths, buyers, cake makers, 'yuzen' dyers, bon makers, road-horse men, palanquin-makers, monkey showmen, 'hakama' makers, 'daikagura' (street entertainers), 'kadozuke' (entertainers who go from house to house), dressmakers, horse trainers, pharmacists, vegetable peddlers, rice polishers, book printers and binders, and doll makers; and in the second scroll, hilt makers, cotton peddlers, tinkers, sweet sellers, sword polishers, 'sake' makers, traveling ascetics, a shrine maiden, a rich samurai with attendants on his way to the pleasure quarters, a charm seller from the Kashima Shrine, a tinsmith, lacquerware makers, florists, paper makers, turners, timber cutters, roofers, plasterers, umbrella makers, a fishmonger, tub makers, fan makers, a book peddler, and a mirror polisher.
In addition to his enormous output of printed picture books and individual woodcut prints, Moronobu maintained a studio that provided the public with various types of genre paintings as well. Most of these take the form of folding-screen paintings and picture scrolls, often depicting the various pleasure resorts of Edo - places of relative ill repute such as the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter and the Kabuki theaters, as well as others, such as the Sumida River with its pleasure boats and Ueno with its cherry-blossom viewing, that provided more innocent amusements. The present work is almost completely devoid of the more hedonistic elements; notably absent, for example, are the courtesans, such as the celebrated Tsujigimi, to be found in the 'Wakoku shoshoku ezukushi', a 'shokunin-zukushi' picture book published in 1685; the absence may be an indicator of the type of person who commissioned it.
Both of these scrolls have Moronobu's signature and seal at the end, but in places subtle discrepancies in the faces of the human figures would seem to indicate more than one hand. In other places, the treatment of such features as trees appears rather slapdash. Such factors combine to suggest that this picture scroll may be a product of Moronobu's studio, produced under his direction.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Jap.Ptg.Add.26 (Japanese Painting Additional Number)