Shiko Munakata

Shiko Munakata, (1903-1975)

The Moutain Path (the fence of...)
(Yamaji no saku)

sumizuri-e hand colored from verso with a poem by Yasuda Yojuro; standing figure with hat and walking stick; signed in pencil kanji, Shiko, and in pencilled English, Munakata, with artist's pine needle symbol and red incense burner seal Munakata; and with woodblock printed certificate of authenticity: Kantei Toroku Sho; Munakata Shiko Kantei Iinkai; hand-numbered 8840, inscribed Munakata Shiko Saku and titled, Yamaji no saku, with two seals, Munakata Shiko Kantei Iinkai and Munakata -?-, ca. 1960 (blocks carved)

48 by 34.6 cm

The poem is by Yasuda Yojuro:

Sazanami no
Shigano yamaji no haru ni mayohi
hitori nagemeshi hana sakari kana
—Yasuda Yojuro uta

Wondering the mountain path of Shiga
solely enjoying the full blossoms of flowers
—by Yasuda Yojuro

In addition to Shinto and Buddhist themes, one of Munakata's favorite subjects was poetry. In 1926, a small sumizuri-e by Sumio Kawakami (1895-1972), Early Summer Breeze, depicting a woman walking in the wind and accompanied by a poem of the same subject by the artist, profoundly influenced Munakata. The simplicity of the composition, in black and white, and the poem, communicating in tandem, inspired Munakata to abandon oil painting and become a print artist.

Throughout his print career, Munakata produced several series inspired by the written word. Lamenting that his own poetry was not sufficient, he illustrated novels and poems by Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, and poems by writers such as Sato Ichiei, Yoshii Isamu, and even Walt Whitman. This print features verse by Yasuda Yojuro, an admirer of Munakata's who had already written a book about him, Shiko Munakata, which was translated by Oliver Statler and published in English in 1958.

munakata certificate of authenticity
certificate of authenticity


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site last updated
December 2, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475