Wood Sign (Ada na kisei): Woman Admiring Potted Pinks, from an untitled series of women for the signs of the Five Elements

美人見立五行 「あだな木性」

Edo period
about 1818–25 (Bunsei 1–8)
Artist Utagawa Toyokuni I (Japanese, 1769–1825), Publisher Yamaguchiya Tôbei (Kinkôdô) (Japanese)

Catalogue Raisonné

Hizô Ukiyo-e taikan/Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections 9, Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels (1989), p. 267


Vertical ôban; 39 x 26.5 cm (15 3/8 x 10 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

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

Not On View


Asia, Prints and Drawings



The Five Elements (gogyô) are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. There appear to be two similar series of five prints each, one with a title cartouche in the shape of an upright fan, and one with the title cartouche in the shape of a diagonally tilted fan. MFA prints in the two series:
Upright fan: 11.15681 (Wood), 11.15682 (Metal), 11.15742 (Earth)
Tilted fan: 11.13577 (Metal), 11.13675 (Fire), 11.15680 (Wood), 11.15743 (Water)


Toyokuni ga


Censor's seal: kiwame


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