A Tree of Surprises for Everyone (Banmin odoroki)
Edo period–Meiji era
about 1868 (Keiô 4/Meiji 1)
Artist Unknown, Japanese
Ôta Mem. Mus., Warau ukiyo-e (2013), #156
Vertical ôban diptych; 36 x 52.6 cm (14 3/16 x 20 11/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper
Not On View
The branches are made of phrases that describe the current political situation, all ending with the syllable “ki” as a pun on “tree.” For full transcriptions of the tree branches and the speeches of the human figures, see the Ôta Memorial Museum catalogue, Warau ukiyo-e (2013), p. 186.
No censor's seal
No blockcutter's mark
No publisher's mark
By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850–d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 19, 2005)
 Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.
William Sturgis Bigelow Collection