The famous series Eight Views of the Parlor was produced in 1766, around the time of the emergence of full-color prints in Japan. The series contains eight prints that were housed together in a fanciful wrapper, all of which are now in the Art Institute’s collection. These scenes present visual puns based on well-known themes of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers in China, each of which has its own poetic title. For Evening Snow, Suzuki Harunobu depicted silk floss as snow and the floss shaper as the mountain rather than showing snow-covered hills.
Such witty visual riddles would have been appreciated by the audience of these prints—wealthy, well-educated townsmen who participated in poetry circles. One such figure was Ōkubo Jinshirō Tadanobu, whose pseudonym was Kyosen. It is thought that he produced this set, engaging Harunobu’s services as well as those of the printer. In fact, this image contains Kyosen’s handwritten signature, leading scholars to believe that the Art Institute’s set is the first edition. Sets with Harunobu’s signature exist in other collections.
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