Distant View of the Comet (Hôki o haruka ni miru zu): The Great Comet of 1882
1882 (Meiji 15), October 7
Artist Nakamura Fusetsu (Japanese, 1866–1943)
Vertical ôban; 37 x 25.2 cm (14 9/16 x 9 15/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper
Not On View
One of the brightest comets ever seen, the Great Comet of 1882 was clearly visible to the naked eye in September 1882. The term for “comet,” written with characters meaning “broom star,” is usually read “suisei” in modern Japanese but is glossed as “hôki” in the text on this print.
Artist and publisher: Nishikubo Masu
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