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Layers of Kikaku Poetry

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

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  • A work made of color woodblock print; surimono.


8th month, 1885


Shibata Zeshin
Japanese, 1807-1891

About this artwork

This print represents a complex tribute to the great Japanese haiku poet Takarai Kikaku (1661–1707) and his descendants. Kikaku was a close follower and student of the poet Bashô (1644–1694) and started his own school of haiku poetry, which remained popular into the early 20th century.
This print is hosted by a descendant of Kikaku, Kikakudo Eiki (1823–1904), whose poem is presented at the bottom left. The 175 inscriptions were made by cultural figures and others who may have been Kikakudo’s students. The print functions as a tribute to the original Kikaku by illustrating and describing an ink stone he owned. It also acts to legitimate Kikakudo, placing him in the context of his forefather and in central positions in the composition. Kikakudo further asserted his position in the cultural world by including the poet Yoda Hyakusen and the artist Shibata Zeshin in the creation of the print.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Shibata Zeshin


Layers of Kikaku Poetry


Japan (Artist's nationality)




Color woodblock print; surimono


57.5 × 43 cm (22 11/16 × 16 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

Charles H. Mitchell Collection unrestricted gift

Reference Number


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