Interior Scene with Books and Writing Implements
Edo period (1615–1868)
Two-panel screen; ink, color, and gold on paper
Image: 66 1/4 x 74 in. (168.3 x 188 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Not on view
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), in which 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 and scrolls, a flower arrangement, and incense utensils in the tray on the top shelf-evokes a masculine literati atmosphere.The two-panel format, an innovation of the period, fosters an intimate feeling that focuses here on the contrast between the complex arrangement of implements on the shelves and the simple figure of a sleeping child in unarticulated space.