Sakata Kinpira Nyudo

Okumura Masanobu Japanese

Not on view

Masanobu combines the framed observer with another popular compositional device, the picture within a picture, for a humorous effect. Sakata Kinpira Nyudo is a legendary strong man in children's stories, in which he wrestles with wild beasts and goblins. Here he has been brought to the ground by drink. He leans his fierce head against a cask of sake; a giant, empty sake cup stands at his side. A painting of Daruma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, hangs in the alcove behind him. Legend has it that Daruma meditated for nine years, during which he resisted all manner of temptations with which demons besieged him. The irises below his portrait signify victory. Daruma gives this hero, who holds a string of Buddhist prayer beads in his hand, a reproachful look because of his lack of fortitude.

Sakata Kinpira Nyudo, Okumura Masanobu (Japanese, 1686–1764), Monochrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper, Japan

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