Umbrellas Triptych: Sanogawa Ichimatsu I

Artist: Okumura Masanobu 奥村政信 (1686-1764)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, mid-1740s
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 31.8 x 15.2 cm (12 1/2 x 6 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Anne van Biema collection, Edo period (1615 - 1868), hosoban, Japan, maple tree, ukiyo-e, umbrella
Provenance research underway.

Images of actors in Japanese prints are not limited to theatrical settings. In this case, Sanogawa Ichimatsu I (1722-1762), who was known for his skill in playing female roles (onnagata), carries an umbrella ornamented with his crest and wears high geta and a graceful, multilayered robe as he strolls in a beautiful autumn setting. The poem, a haiku (hokku) probably written by the artist Masanobu, reads:

Even in autumn showers,
completely untinged-
a solitary pine tree.

The poem suggests that autumn foliage is colored by the autumn rains. The imagery of the poem and the print also link this scene to Kyoto and the Shigure-tei hermitage of the court poet Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241). The title of the print, Umbrellas Triptych, right (meaning stage right, viewer's left), indicates that it belongs to a triptych of similar designs, for which one print remains unknown. This print is an elegant example of two-color printing, a process that preceded the development of full-color printing in 1765.

Translation of poem by John T. Carpenter

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 6, pp. 64-65.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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