Ono no Tofu Standing on the Bank of a Stream and Watching a Frog Leap to Catch a Willow Branch
Totoya Hokkei (Japanese, 1780–1850)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Polychrome woodblock print (surimono); ink and color on paper
8 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (21.9 x 19.4 cm)
Gift of Estate of Samuel Isham, 1914
Not on view
Classical subjects, from both literature and history, often attracted the surimono artists. Strolling by a stream, Ono no Tofu (894–964), a court calligrapher, dejectedly thinks about resigning from the court. He stops to watch a determined frog attempt a high upward leap onto a willow branch. After countless futile efforts, the frog finally succeeds. Inspired by its perseverance, Ono no Tofu decides to stay on.
New York. Japan Society Gallery. "Rain and Snow: The Umbrella in Japanese Art," April 28, 1993–June 26, 1993.