About This Artwork

Matsui Toka
Japanese, 19th century

Almanac, 1883

Color woodblock print; surimono
25.2 x 18.5 cm

Charles H. Mitchell Collection unrestricted gift, 1972.1981

Here Matsui Toka depicted a booklet of the eho (lucky directions), an almanac displaying fortunes for the coming year. Such booklets were published around the New Year and eagerly consulted for the lucky and unlucky days of the upcoming year. The text not only revealed the direction of Toshitokujin, the deity of one’s lucky direction, but would also guide the days that major events, such as weddings, should take place. As such, this booklet is an apt symbol of the New Year season, as are the flowering plum branches that decorate it.

Interpretive Resources

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