The Japanese art of Ukiyo-e (“Pictures of the floating [or sorrowful] world”) developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) during the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1600-1868), a relatively peaceful era during which the Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan and made Edo the seat of power. The Ukiyo-e tradition of woodblock printing and painting continued into the 20th century. This diptych print of between 1849 and 1852 shows Saigyō surrounded by men trying to prevent him from leaving his house to become a priest. The poet Saigyō (1118-90) was born into an aristocratic military family but rejected the warrior’s life and took orders as a Buddhist priest when he was about 22 years old.
Place: East Asia; Japan
Institution: Library of Congress
Physical description: 1 print (2 sheets): woodcut, color34.8 x 47.3 centimeters (whole image), 34.8 x 23.7 centimeters (left panel), 34.7 x 23.6 centimeters (right panel)