Lacquer tray with objects and poems (surimono), January 1869 or January 1870
by Shibata Zeshin
In this 21 inch long print, two ornate bottles with fan-shaped stoppers rest on a lacquer tray with several unidentified objects. Fifty-nine haikai (seventeen syllable poems) are written to the left of the image, along with the names of their composers, with the date, either Meiji 2 (1869) January or Meiji 3 (1870) January, written in the last column on the left, above the signature and seal of the calligrapher.
The Art Institute Chicago notes, "Many examples of large-scale surimono by Shibata Zeshin exist; he must have set up a large establishment in order to cater to orders from poets and intellectuals. Since Zeshin was engaged in many official commissions in other media and had a large group of apprentices, he probably left most of the details of surimono production to his apprentices."