The Syllable Ka: Writing on Flowing Water, from the series Tales of Ise in Fashionable Brocade Prints (Fûryû nishiki-e Ise monogatari)

風流錦絵伊勢物語 「か」 行く水に数かく

Edo period
about 1770–73 (Meiwa 7–An'ei 2)

Catalogue Raisonné

Clark et al., The Actor's Image (1994), #236; Waterhouse, Harunobu and His Age (1964), #105


Vertical koban (half aiban); 22.2 x 15.2 cm (8 3/4 x 6 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

Not On View


Asia, Prints and Drawings



No. 14 in the series of 48, illustrating episode 50 of Tales of Ise.

MFA impressions: 11.19781, 21.4088

The series was apparently published in the form of two orihon albums, the first volume (24 designs on 12 aiban sheets) in about 1770, the second volume in about 1772-73. The complete set, in two volumes: 2006.1795.


Poem: Yuku mizu ni/ kazu kaku yori mo/ hakanaki wa/ omowanu hito o/ omou narikeri


Katsukawa Shunshô ga


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