Tea Grinding


Tea Grinding
Print   (Part of the set: Akashi-ban Surimono)

Kubo Shunman


Print is Public Domain; Photography is:   Creative Commons License


In this surimono we see a white camellia in front of a tin tea container with a lid that is the same size as its body (a nakatsugi). The petals of the camillia stand out in particular, having been pushed out with kimedashi, an embossing technique. Kimedashi is produced by pushing the back of the paper down into recessions carved into the block. The front side of the sheet is thus raised up slightly, and the print is actually turned into a (very shallow) bas relief object. There are limits as to how far this can be carried without tearing the paper, but even a shallow kimedashi can be very effective. The tea ceremony was a popular and elegant pastime in the 19th century (and continues to be today), so it is no surprise that Shunman chose to depict the ceremony in surimono prints, a luxury in their own right as privately commissioned pieces of ephemera not for commercial distribution.

This print, titled in Japanese "White: Tea Container", is from the Chaki Goshiki Shose (茶器五色尚製, "Five Colors of Tea Utensils") series of surimono prints by Shunman. The three poems included in the print are by Suikiotei Baikei, Shichukan Hayazawa and Garyuen.

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Satsuma no Fukuyorime
Tea Utensils