Kubo Shunman
Three Votive Tablets
c. 1818

Print 1 from: “Seven Pictures for the Hisagataya Group”; Artist’s seal: Shunman; surimono, shikishi-ban, 20.3 x 18.5 cm; nishiki-e with karazuri, kimekomi and metallic pigments

Sheet 1 from “Seven Pictures for the Hisagataya Group” Three votive plaques (ema) are hanging in the gallery of a temple. On the right is a narrow picture with a poem and a golden pheasant which is partially covered by a horizontal view of Futamigaura (“Wedded Rocks”) as well as by a fan picture hanging over it with peonies in beautiful blind pressing. In the foreground a veranda overlooking blossoming cherry trees. Over the picture of the pheasant is a waka by Hisagataya, the leader of the poets’ group and the commissioner of this exquisite print.

Provenance: N. Chaikin (January 1971)
Riese Collection #53

Votive paintings which were dedicated to Buddhist temples were customarily kept in a separate building known as a mead. Here we see the section of the upper floors of one of these buildings, between the top of cherry trees and roof tiles. The painting of peonies is printed with deep embossing. The painting of pheasant sealed Shunman, bears a poet by Hisagataya, the leader of the group which commissioned this set. The third painting, a curiously Western-looking landscape with a view of the Husband-and-Wife Rocks at Futami has a poem by Gaisoan Michitane comparing the reflections of the sails to battledores. The remaining six prints in the set probably showed other votive paintings in these imaginary buildings.

The poems read:

Wakakusa no        tsukubane no
tsuma o kou tote        kazu mo isshi ni
kagerō no          (?)utami oki
onoga samazama        hagoita hodo ni
kigisu nakunari        kasumu ho no kage
Hisagataya          Gaisoan Michitane

An impression of another print in this set, with votive paintings of peacock on a rock, an actor holding a smoking cannon, and pine branches with rising sun is reproduced in Henri Vever, Sotheby’s, London, 26 March 1975, no. 21(?). One of the poems on this print is also by Hisagataya, the leader of the poetry circle.