A Pictorial Commentary on One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets: no. 36, Bun'ya no Asayasu
(Hyakunin isshu esho: Bun'ya no Asayasu)
signed Kunisada aratame Nidaime Toyokuni ga (Kunisada changing his name to Toyokuni II) with his Toshidama seal, censor's seal Mura (Murata Sahei), followed by the publisher's seal Sanoki (Sanoya Kihei of Kikakudo), ca. 1844-46
oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 10 in., 36.1 by 25.4 cm
A beauty stands near the edge of a stage wearing an understated grey kimono holds a shakuhachi (end-blown bamboo flute) in both hands, her fingertips are placed at the ready along the instrument. She glances expectantly to her right as though awaiting a cue to resume playing.
Although all of the designs in this series of 100 hundred prints were issued as individual sheets (with relevant signature and seals), there are several instances where consecutive designs relate to one another, but only occaisonally with elements that connect the compositions. This print can form the center sheet of a triptych comprised of design number 35 on the right featuring a poem by Kiyowara no Fukayabu and a beauty playing a koto; and design number 37 as the left sheet with a poem by Mibu no Tadamine and a beauty playng a kokyu. When viewed together, the three women form an ensemble in concert.
Bun'ya no Asayasu (or Fun'ya no Asayasu) was revered as one of the Rokkasen (Six Importal Poets) identified as important and notable in the introduction to the poetry anthology, Kokin Wakushu (ca. 905). His poem is presented as the front and back of the poem card (Hyakunin isshu no. 37):
upper card (front):
kaze no fuki-shiku
aki no ta ha
lower card (back):
tama zo chirikeru
In the autumn fields
where the wind blows repeatedly
on the white dewdrops,
the gems, not strung together,
do scatter about indeed
Honolulu Museum of Art, acquisition no. 25381
Tokyo Metropolitan Library, acquisition no. 4132-002-001(36)
Joshua S. Mostow, The Hundred Poets Compared, 2007, p. 108, no. 37 (poem translation)
(inv. no. 10-5236)
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
April 16, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...