Lady Wei


Lady Wei
Print   (Part of the set: Akashi-ban Surimono)

Harunobu Gakutei


Print is Public Domain; Photography is:   Creative Commons License


Here we see Lady Wei (272–349), a famous calligrapher in the rei (formal style) script, seated at a writing table. She represents the brush in the Ichiyoren Bunbo Shiyu (文房四友, "The Four Friends of the Writing Table for the Ichiyō Circle") series of prints by Gakutei. The title of the series plays on the theme of the "Four Treasures of the Study" (文房四宝), a term used to denote the brush, ink, paper and ink stone used in East Asian calligraphy. In fact, the series title may be more accurately rendered "Ichiyō Circle: Four Friends of the Study", although the title itself is a little misleading as there are more than four prints in the series. According to the Chester Beatty Library, the poems in this print compare the fragrance of a newly ground ink with the fragrance of plum blossoms; the first puns on ka (fragrance) and kara (Chinese).

All of the prints in this series have a beautiful karazuri blind-embossed border. The Chinese clothing, hair piece, and hairstyle in this particular print are eye-catching, as is the bokashi gradation and cloud pattern that give a mystical feeling to the print.

Another Search

Painting of the Courtesan Yugiri