Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Interior Scene with Books and Writing Implements

Unidentified Artist
Edo period (1615–1868)
early to mid-17th century
Two-panel screen; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper
Image: 66 1/4 x 74 in. (168.3 x 188 cm)
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
Not on view
The two-panel format, an innovation of the period, fosters an intimate feeling. Here, the focus is on the contrast between the complex arrangement of implements on the shelves and the simple figure of what appears to be a sleeping child—probably a boy—in unarticulated space.

Genre painting enjoyed great popularity from the late sixteenth century until the advent of ukiyo-e prints in the late seventeenth century. This exquisite screen is typical of the Kan’ei era (1624–49), when candid scenes of sensuous and cultivated brothel life came into favor over the previous generation’s preference for depictions of outdoor activities. The dominant image of a bookcase, with its objects of scholarly pursuit—ink, brushes, books, scrolls, a flower arrangement, and incense utensils in the tray on the top shelf—evokes a literati atmosphere.
Related Objects

A Page from the Jie Zi Yuan

Medium: Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper Accession: CP13 On view in:Not on view

Two Chinese Scholars Practicing Calligraphy in Their Studio

Date: ca. 1840 Medium: Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper Accession: 2007.49.264 On view in:Not on view

a: Xie Zhi; b: Zhiliu

Date: 20th century Medium: Lacquered wood Accession: 2005.411.329a, b On view in:Not on view

Zhuangmu Weng

Date: 20th century Medium: Xinshan jade Accession: 2005.411.330 On view in:Not on view

a: Zhiliu; b: Zhuangmu

Date: 20th century Medium: Baling stone Accession: 2005.411.331a, b On view in:Not on view