Exhibitions/ 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

Presumed Portrait of Jacopo Alvarotto

Artist: Unidentified Artist (Italian, Venice (?), 18th century) Date: probably 18th century Medium: Black chalk, brown wash Accession: 1975.1.336 On view in:Not on view

Buddha Preaching, a section from the Illustrated Sutra of Past and Present Karma (Kako genzai inga kyō emaki)

Date: mid-8th century Medium: Handscroll section mounted as a hanging scroll; ink and color on paper Accession: 2016.19 On view in:Not on view

The Daoist Immortal Li Tieguai receiving a visitor

Date: 15th–16th century Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 2016.486 On view in:Not on view

Portrait of Yun Dongseom (1710–1795)

Date: ca. 1790–1805 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 2014.605 On view in:Not on view

Rice Culture, or Sowing and Reaping

Date: before 1353 Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 2005.277 On view in:Not on view