About this artwork
Shibata Zeshin depicts a section of a sugoroku board game featuring the Tokaido highway. The game appeared early in Japanese history, and, by the early modern period, it had become widely popular. It was also traditionally played at New Year’s, making it a fitting subject for this print, which is dated from January. The Tokaido sugoroku pitted players against each other as they traveled along the highway stations on a large woodblock-printed board.
Zeshin inscribed the players’ markers with their names. As a joke, he wrote his own name and the name of the host of this surimono poetry gathering, Hirota Seichi, on two of the cards. The print demonstrates Seichi’s ability to gather a wide range of participants, likely his students and friends, of which Zeshin seems to have been one. They may also have gathered around a game of sugoroku in real life.
Currently Off View
- Asian Art
- Shibata Zeshin
- Poetic Travel
- Color woodblock print; surimono
- 58.0 x 43.7 cm
- Charles H. Mitchell Collection unrestricted gift