Blackness (Kurobô), from the series An Incense Contest (Takimono awase)

「薫物合 黒方」

Edo period
about 1835 (Tenpô 6)
Artist Yanagawa Shigenobu II (Japanese, active about 1830–60)

Catalogue Raisonné

McKee, Colored in the Year's New Light (Becker coll. exh. ca., 2008), #17; Carpenter et al, Reading Surimono (2008), #242; Polster & Marks, Surimono (1980), p. 353


Shikishiban; 21 x 18 cm (8 1/4 x 7 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (surimono); ink and color on paper

Not On View


Asia, Prints and Drawings



From a series based on the names of types of incense, made for the Shakuyakutei circle.
Poems translated in Carpenter et al 2008, p. 365, and McKee 2008, p. 50.


Poem by Chôkintei Aoki: Umezono no/ kata yori soyo to/ kayou kaze/ oboroge naranu/ haru no soradaki

Poem by Shinryûtei Harukaze: Kujira obi/ kuroki kata yori/ harukaze no/ ka o sasoi kuru/ oridashi no ume

Poem by Shakuyakutei: Ume ga ka wa/ ikade kakuren/ kuro kosode/ fusego ni kakeshi/ haru no yoiyami


Nisei Yanagawa Shigenobu



Artist's seal: Yanagawa (?)


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: August 3, 1911)

[1] 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.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection