Kitao Sekkōsai 北尾雪坑斎 (act. 1744-1781)
The Discharge of a Hundred Men and a Box of Tissues
(Hyakunin isshutsu shokushibako 百人一出拭紙箱)
Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), 1766
Woodblock-printed book; ink on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003

Little biographical information about the Osaka-based artist Kitao Sekkōsai, known also as Kitao Tokinobu, is available beyond the assertion that he studied under Ippitsusai Bunchō (d. 1791). His compositional style, however, particularly his tendency to depict embracing couples in horizontal, tightly cropped views, is highly reminiscent of Tsukioka Settei (1710-1786), whose work is on display nearby.

The Ogura Hyakunin Isshū is an anthology of one hundred Japanese waka (thirty-one-syllable poems) composed by various authors over a period of three hundred years and compiled by the scholar Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241) while living in the Ogura district of Kyoto, Japan during the early 13th century. The title of Teika’s work literally means “The Ogura Edition of One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets,” and in the hope of draining that title of its pretense, Sekkōsai makes slight alterations in the Chinese characters that comprise it.

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