Artist: Takashima Chiharu 高島千春 and Totoya Hokkei 魚屋北渓
Title: Tokiwa no taki 得吉方廼滝
Date: 1833 (Tenpō 4)
Medium: Woodblock printed ōbon
Measurements: 17.4 x 25.2 cm
Publisher: not specified
Arthur Tress Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books. Box 17, Item 4:
Dated to 1833 in its preface, Tokiwa no taki (The Everlasting Waterfalls of Tokiwa) was a sequel to Mitsu no tomo-e from the previous year. This kyōka poetry book contains New Year’s mitsumono (three-link verse) by the Yomo poetry group. Two artists each contributed one illustration to the volume; Chiharu designed a scene of “Springtime at the Waterfall Pavilion” and Hokkei furnished a bucolic view of “Autumn Leaves at Takinogawa.”
Hokkei’s composition is especially dynamic. A family journeys across a narrow bridge spanning a richly cerulean river rippled with silver. The man waves a puppet playfully to distract the young child carried on his mother’s back. On shore, two men admire foliage of a nearby tree. An ombré of gold bands the sky, capping the autumnal landscape and underscoring the care and expense of the book’s manufacture.
The seasonal imagery resonates with the accompanying poems, which also take on themes of flowers and autumn leaves. Four openings at the beginning of the book list the poetry submissions across blue and white rectangular forms, evocative of tanzaku (hanging poetry slips), which are further accented with cherry blossom and maple branches. The original light blue cover exhibits aqueous motifs including a dark blue wave.
Totoya Hokkei (1780—1850) was a student of Hokusai, and a prominent and prolific contributor to ukiyo-e in his own right. Born in Edo, Hokkei’s oeuvre encompasses a variety of works, including book illustration, brocade prints, erotica, and private commission surimono. In addition to their work for Tokiwa no taki, both Takashima Chiharu (1777-1859) and Hokkei designed prints for Mitsu no tomo-e (the series’ first installment), utilizing a similar color palate and high quality of execution.
The Pulverer Collection, Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,The Harvard Art Museums and the Art Institute of Chicago, include Hokkei’s illustration as a single print.
Jack Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, 2 vols. (London: Sotheby’s Publications, 1987), vol. 2, 836–7.
Suzuki Jun, commentary, Tokiwa no taki: http://pulverer.si.edu/node/434/title/1 (accessed November 12, 2019)
Submitted by Zoe Coyle, November 14, 2019