- Museum number
Object: Gin sekai 銀世界 (The Silver World)
Series: Setsu gekka 雪月花 (Snow, Moon and Flowers)
Illustrated book, folding album. One volume. Poetry anthology on the theme of snow, from a series of three volumes, "Snow, Moon and Flowers". Seventy-eight poems all on theme of snow. Contents: 10 leaves: 1 double-page preface, 5 double-page illustrations, 3 double pages of poems, 1 double page of poem and publisher's colophon. Illustrations: 1. Embankment of Sumida River in snow; 2. Chinese boys in snow; 3. Pulling a boat in snow; 4. Court scene in snow [Sei Shonagon]; 5. Party scene on snowy night. Colour woodblock-printed, with brass dust and gauffrage. Inscribed, signed and sealed. Covers: Dark blue, painted in gold with horizontal bands of mist and willow tree. Title slip: Original, printed on buff slip pasted in top left corner of cover.
- Production date
- 1790 (preface)
Height: 25.60 centimetres
Width: 18.90 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Tsutaya and Utamaro produced a trilogy of luxurious anthologies on the theme of snow, moon and flowers, and in this book all five scenes feature snow. Some pictures are on courtly themes, here Lady Sei raising the blind to view a snow-covered garden. (Label copy, TTC, 1999.)
Hillier and Smith 1980
This album may be thought of as part of a traditional trilogy of 'setsugekka' (Snow, Moon and Flowers), 'Kyogetsubo' (1979. 0305, 0154) representing the Moon, and 'Fugenzo' (not in the Hillier Collection), the Flowers.
Binyon, Laurence, and Sexton, J J O'Brien, 'Japanese Colour Prints' (new edn.), London, 1963, pp. 220-1.
Brown, Louise Norton, 'Block Printing and Book Illustration in Japan', London and New York, 1924, p. 169.
Hillier, J, 'Utamaro. Colour Prints and Paintings', London, 1961 and 1979, ch. VII.
Odaka, Sennosuke, "Umaro ehon ko" (A Study of Utamaro's Illustrated Books), 'Ukiyoye no kenkyu', 20, vol. 5, Tokyo, 1928, no. 9.
Asano and Clark 1995
Compiled by Yadoya no Meshimori. This is the volume for snow from the series of "Snow, Moon and Flowers" and so the seventy-eight ‘kyoka’ poems it contains are all on the theme of snow. All five of Utamaro's illustrations are also snow scenes. As with ‘Waka Ebisu’ (cat. no. 465). and ‘Kyogetsu-bo’, there is the desire to introduce variety and novelty to the tone of the illustrations by consciously employing the styles of different schools of painting. The order of the illustrations differs from copy to copy.
There are copies in which the cloud-shaped areas or the top of the illustrations are decorated with fine sprinklings of metal filings, rather than thick brass dust. Generally speaking these should be considered slightly later printings.
Otaka, Sennosuke 尾高鮮之助, "Utamaro no kibyoshi ko, 1-3 歌麿の黄表紙考（一）~（三）", ‘Mizue みづゑ’, 275-277, 1928, 29-30.
‘Kokusho somokuroku 国書総目録’, vol. 1, Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, 1963-72, pl. 492.
Hillier, Jack, ‘The Art of the Japanese Book’, Sotheby’s Publication, London, 1987, 425-8.
Smith, Lawrence, ‘Ukiyoe: Images of Unknown Japan’, BMP, London, 1988, book no. 25.
‘Hizo Ukiyo-e taikan’「秘蔵浮世絵大観」, gen. ed. Narazaki, Muneshige, vol. 3, Kodansha, Tokyo, 1987-90, pls. 275-279.
Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin.
Chiba City Museum of Art 千葉市美術館.
Edo-Tokyo Museum 江戸東京博物館, Tokyo.
Donald and Mary Hyde Collection.
Keio Gijuku 慶応義塾, Tokyo.
Gerhard Pulverer Collection.
[Main text translated in Japanese below / 以下上記本文日本語訳]
This album, with five snow scenes in a variety of styles, is one of a traditional trilogy of 'Snow, Moon and Flowers' (setsugekka). 'Kyogetsubo' (no. 22) represents the Moon, and 'Fugenzo' (the name of a cherry variety) the Flowers (no. 26).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012 October - 2013 January, BM Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
2018 Oct-2019 Apr, BM Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries (Chinese boys)
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: JH.526 (Hillier no.)