Title: Aki zashiki no tsuki (Autumn Moon above the Reception Room), from the series Shiki (Four Seasons)
Hand-colored woodblock print
Dimensions: 13 3/16 x 6 5/16 in. (33.5 x 16 cm)
Gift of Robert J. Smith, PhD 1953, and Kazuko Smith
Object Number: 2005.044.043
In this scene, an elegant courtesan holding a pipe stands on the veranda of a reception room and gazes at the moon rising above the mountains and a river. The moon is an important emblem of the so-called “Floating World” of the urban entertainment districts of Japan.
The samurai Asai Ryoi (1612–1691), in his Tales of the Floating World, described the attitude of the professionals and patrons who indulged in the fleeting pleasures offered in those districts:
Living only for the moment, turning our attention to the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms, and the maple leaves: singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating, floating, caring not at all for the poverty staring us in the face, refusing to be disheartened, like a gourd floating down the river; this is what we call the floating world. (“Moon," curated by Ellen Avril and presented at the Johnson Museum August 25, 2018-January 13, 2019)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.