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Woman About to Write a Poem

A work made of color woodblock print with metallic pigments; surimono shikishiban.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of color woodblock print with metallic pigments; surimono shikishiban.


c. 1824


Yashima Gakutei
Japanese, 1786 (?)-1868

About this artwork

The figure of a sumptuously attired woman takes up almost the entire composition of this print. She wears a layered kimono, the outer robe of which has a lavish design of plums, a winding stream, and Chinese characters. She is an educated woman as evidenced by the books piled on the lacquer cabinet behind her. She looks at a blank sheet of decorated paper, brush in hand, ready to compose a poem. Above her, the poems speak of the art of poetry as practiced by animals, whereby the animals represent the efforts of amateur poets. One of the poems reads:

Even the sound
Of the song
Bellowed by a frog
Who lives in a well
Is somehow transformed
[when inscribed on a poem card.]
(Translated by John Carpenter)


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Yashima Gakutei


Woman About to Write a Poem


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 with metallic pigments; surimono shikishiban


21.3 × 18.3 cm (8 7/16 × 7 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Helen C. Gunsaulus

Reference Number


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