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Artist: Ryuryukyo Shinsai (1764-1820)

Chapters "Akashi," "Miotsukushi," and "Yomogui", from the series Tale of Genji.

An arrangement of objects featuring a Japanese biwa (small guitar or lute) resting on top of its brocade carrying bag, decorated with plovers flying over waves printed in silver dust.

Date: ca. 1818 (Edo period (1615-1868) 

Format: Surimono, shikishi-ban; 

Medium: Woodblock printed; ink and color on paper with silver, and guaffrage. 


8 1/8'' x 7 1/4'' in. 


Fine condition, color & impression. 



The title of this surimono references chapters from the Tale of Genji; "Akashi" (referring to Chapter 13's Lady Akashi), "Channel Buoys" ("Miotsukushi"),  and "The Wormwood Patch" ("Yomogui"), from the series Tale of Genji.   


Fragrances are frequently described in the tale as if they were an additional garment, inspiring numerous Genji-themed incense utensils and complex games of comparing incense woods identified with specific chapters or other literary works. Similarly, music and the sounds of the koto (cat. 85), biwa, and flute are evoked throughout the tale. Musical instruments were not only embellished with Genji imagery but also pictorialized on lacquers and textiles. (Taken from pg. 237 )


Seemingly rare, we have found only one other impression of this design, color plate 325 page 261; The Private World of Surimono; Yale University, 2020.

See Yale University Art Gallery;

Accession Number: ILE2017.30.267

Shinsai - Biwa from the series Tale of Genji, Surimono

$9,500.00 Regular Price
$8,550.00Sale Price