Nishikawa Sukenobu (1671-1750)
Illustrated Book: Field of Scarlet Kudzu
(Ehon makuzugahara), 1741 (reprinted 1760s)
Nishikawa Sukenobu was one of the Edo period’s most influential designers of illustrated books. Residing in Kyoto, he produced images that combined long-appreciated classical associations with contemporary styles and subjects. In this illustration Sukenobu shows a group of people enjoying an evening of boating on the river; on the left, the man reaches up to fan the fireflies, in a scene described in the poem above, just as the dusk is falling. Here, place and time are evoked through poetic associations with the fireflies in summer.
Julie Nelson Davis