Hokkei: Surimono titled A Good Day to Start Business (akinai hajime yoshi)
Artist: Totoya Hokkei
Title: A Good Day to Start Business (akinai hajime yoshi)
Series: Hanazono bantsuzuki “Series for the Hanazono (Poetry) Group”.
Japanese often choose a day to begin a certain activity according to the almanac which designates the day is suitable or unsuitable for the activity. It also mentions activities to be begun on certain dates by people of particular ages and specific elemental or astrological types. This must be according to Chinese astrology. Oharame were women who came to Kyoto from the northern areas of Kyoto such as Hachise, Ôhara, Takao and Nakagawa-kyô to sell bundles of blackwood. They would carry a bundle of blackwood for burning on their head. The bundle would be decorated with a twig of a flowering branch. Oharame were known for their typical way of wearing their kimono tucked short, their arms covered with long open gloves, and the head covered with cloth. Here we see a lovely Oharame resting her arm on one of her bundles with her kiseru pipe in her mouth. She is about to light the tobacco pipe. In front of her is a small pouch. Her kimono has pattern of tachibana , mandarin orange. Two poems are written by the poets from Suikaidô: the first by Kinborô Taneyoshi refers to Oharame with a twig of tlowing plum in elegant capital, Kyoto; the second by Aoyagikan Bairen refers to the singing of a bush warbler. This is a new year’s surimono. So far Roger Keyes illustrates four from this series.
Literature: See other examples from the series in Roger Keyes’ “The Art of Surimono: Privately published Japanese woodblock prints an books in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin”, pages 153-155.