Miniature Inrō with Design of Firewood-laden Boats on Waves

Shibata Zeshin Japanese
copied from a design by Hon'ami Kōetsu Japanese

Not on view

The small boats that plied the misty waters of the Uji River often appear in Japanese classical literature as images of rusticity and human vulnerability. They are a potent and recurring motif in the later chapters of the Tale of Genji. This miniature is copied from a design by the Rimpa artist Kōetsu, who took such unmistakable literary references and distilled them into striking forms.

Miniature Inrō with Design of Firewood-laden Boats on Waves, Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891), Gold maki-e with mother-of-pearl inlay on black lacquer; netsuke of hardwood with cloisonne, Japan

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