Table and Writing Set

Artist: Kubo Shunman (Japanese, 1757–1820)

Period: Edo period (1615–1868)

Date: 19th century

Culture: Japan

Medium: Polychrome woodblock print (surimono); ink and color on paper

Dimensions: 8 3/16 x 7 1/8 in. (20.8 x 18.1 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: JP1985


Lacquer objects are often depicted on luxurious, limited-edition New Year’s greeting cards (surimono). This print shows a small, red lacquer, maki-e decorated writing table with an unbrushed poem card (tanzaku) placed on it. Next to the table is a lacquer writing box. On the outside, it is decorated with gold and silver chrysanthemum maki-e, while the inside is red lacquer. It contains an inkstone, a water-dropper, an ink stick, and three brushes. The brushes are very fine, suitable for tanzaku calligraphy. The poems reveal that these are accoutrements to be used for practicing the “first calligraphy” (kakizome) of the year.