Incense game utensils, Edo period (1615–1868)
Ryuryukio Shinsai (Japanese, mid–18th–early 19th century)
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper; 4 7/8 x 10 3/4 in. (12.4 x 27.3 cm)
Signed: Ryuryukio Shinsai ga; seal: Ryu
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (JP2065)
This privately commissioned, limited-edition New Year's greeting print (surimono) depicts various utensils of the incense game. It features a decorative mica stand, which held the small, silver-framed mica plates under the chopped incense wood pieces as they were heated in the incense heater. The poem refers to several spring symbols using word play, as is customary in New Year's greetings. Also mentioned is the first incense game of the year (hatsuneko), an incense game that celebrates the advent of spring.