Art/ Collection/ Art Object

井手の玉川
Jewel River at Ide (Ide no Tamagawa)

Artist:
Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1725–1770)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
ca. 1768
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
10 3/4 x 7 7/16 in. (27.3 x 18.9 cm) medium-size print (chu-ban)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1946
Accession Number:
JP3019
Not on view
Holding the skirts of their kimonos above the water, three women wade in a shallow stream from a bank where yamabuki flowers grow. With elegance and great care they are venturing across the river.

This particular print shows a famous scenic place on the Jewel River at Ide in Yamashiro Province, modern Kyoto. A square cartouche bears a title and a poem by the celebrated poet Fujiware no Shunzei (1114–1204):

Tamagawa at Ide by Shunzei
As I stop my horse to give him
water, dew from the yamabuki flowers
is lost in the stream of Tamagawa at Ide.
(trans. by Miyeko Murase)

The images of the three women are borrowed from the illustrated book by Nishikawa Sukenobu (1671–1751) entitled Ehon Chitose-yama (Picture Book: Thousand-Year Mountain), displayed next to this print. In Harunobu's print, it is not clear why the maid on the right is looking over her shoulder. However, in Sukenobu's illustration, the maid actually looks back at a fourth figure behind her. Ignoring the fourth woman, Harunobu borrowed only three figures from Sukenobu's illustration, almost cutting them out for transplant into his print. A significant change in Harunobu's print is the treatment of the women's feet, which are visible under the clear water.
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