Fine Japanese Prints

Fine Japanese Prints

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 22. Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) | The Poet Ise | Edo period, 19th century.

Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) | The Poet Ise | Edo period, 19th century

Lot Closed

March 24, 02:22 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 GBP

Lot Details


Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849)

The Poet Ise

Edo period, 19th century 

woodblock print, from the series One Hundred Poems, Explained by the Nurse (Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki), signed Saki no Hokusai Manji (Manji, the former Hokusai), censor's seal kiwame, published by Iseya Sanjiro (Eijudo), circa 1835-36 

Horizontal oban: 25 x 37.5 cm., 9⅞ x 14¾ in.

This lot has been professionally mounted for exhibition, there is residue tape to the reverse.

A courtesan of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter sits looking out from a window on the upper-storey of a teahouse whilst workmen are busy repairing the building's roof above. The woman looks out over the Sumida river to the Embankment of Japan; the path that lead patrons of the Yoshiwara from the river along rice fields to the pleasure quarter.

For this work, Hokusai has deliberately transferred the location of the original poem by the poet Ise from the Naniwa Inlet (the ancient name for the region around Osaka), to Edo and its famous pleasure quarters. 

The poem translation by Joshua Mostow, see Timothy Clark (ed.), Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave, The British Museum, (London, 2017), cat. no. 133, p. 225


mijikaki ashi no

fushi no ma no

awade kono yo o

sugushite yo to ya

To go through this life, not meeting

for even as short a time as the space

between two nodes of a reed

in Naniwa inlet --

is that what you are telling me?

For a similar impression in the collection The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 11.17540, go to: