Gifts of the Ebb Tide (Shiohi no tsuto)

Color woodblock-printed album with highlights in mica, metallic pigments, embossing and mother-of-pearl; orihon, hand-painted indigo covers with original title slip Shiohi no tsuto black-on-buff paper; one vol. complete, 9¾ x 7⅜ in. (24.8 x 18.7 cm), comprising one sheet preface; one sheet landscape; six sheets poems and detailed images of shells; one sheet interior view; one sheet postscript and colophon; undated [1789].

Contents: Preface by Akera Kankō (1740–1800) describes how he and seven companions from the Yaegaki poetry circle set out by boat on an alcohol-fueled excursion to visit the Bay of Shinagawa, just to the south of Edo, where they enjoyed beachcombing and extemporizing verse on the treasures they discovered there. A view of the beach at Shinagawa follows, with a courtesan and her companions in the foreground to the left; on the right and in the distance, people are gathering shells. A verse by Yomibito Shirazu is at upper right. Next are six sheets, each with six poems in the upper portion, and detailed views of shells, rocks, and seaweed below. An interior scene completes the sequence of images, with upper-class women playing the shell game, and a verse by Matake no Fushikabe above. A postscript explains how the party was organized by Akera Kankō in the third month of the year, and how each poet contributed to the enterprise. It is signed by Chieda, calligrapher, at the request of the Yaegaki group. The colophon gives the artist (gako) as Kitagawa Utamaro, with his seal Jisei ikke. The publisher (shorin) is Kōshōdō Tsutaya Jūzaburō, located to the north of the main street, 8-chōme, Tōri-abura chō.

Provenance: Adolphe Stoclet

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