Outfit for the Game of Incense

Artist: Ryūryūkyo Shinsai (Japanese, active ca. 1799–1823)

Period: Edo period (1615–1868)

Date: 19th century

Culture: Japan

Medium: Polychrome woodblock print (surimono); ink and color on paper

Dimensions: 4 7/8 x 10 3/4 in. (12.4 x 27.3 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 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.