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Rice-Pounding Rabbit

A work made of color woodblock print; surimono.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of color woodblock print; surimono.




Tanaka Shutei
Japanese, 1810-1858

About this artwork

This humorous scene of a rabbit pounding a mochi rice cake in a Chinese-style urn represents a sophisticated layering of narrative and pictorial traditions. In East Asian lore, rice cake–pounding rabbits are said to live on the surface of the moon. The artist Tanaka Shutei, an active printer and print designer in Osaka, also referenced a scene from the popular story of Kaguya Hime. He depicted Kaguya, a princess from the moon, in her lunar palace, peeking at the work of the rabbit. The rabbit heralded the arrival of both the year of the rabbit and the New Year in general, as rice cake pounding is an important activity at that time of year.


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Arts of Asia


Tanaka Shutei


Rice-Pounding Rabbit


Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Color woodblock print; surimono


23.4 × 17.6 cm (9 1/4 × 6 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

Charles H. Mitchell Collection unrestricted gift

Reference Number


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