Skip to content


Nishikawa SUKENOBU

(Japan 1671 – 1750)


(Japan  – )

OGAWA Hikokuro

(Japan  – )

Onna manyô keiko sôshi, vol.3 (incomplete)
Alternative title:
Illustrated book of women's writing lessons
Place of origin
Kyôho era 1716-1735Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
Media categories
Book, Print
Materials used
woodblock printed books

26.0 x 18.3 x 0.8 cm

Gift of James Richardson 2002
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Nishikawa Sukenobu is considered the greatest early 'kamigata' (Kyoto-Osaka area as against Edo) 'ukiyo-e' artist, whose influence reached Edo, the main stage of the 'ukiyo-e' school. He had studied both the Kano and Tosa schools before developing his own 'ukiyo-e' in which, unlike the two ruling-class forms, he focuses on the ordinary people and their lives with 'equal enthusiasm for that of an empress' (Chibbett, 1977, 139).

'Onna manyo keiko soshi' is a text book for letters at specific occasions for women in samurai households, written by a scribe working for twenty years. The text examples are laid out for use throughout the year, beginning from New Year's greetings to the end-of-the-year addresses. They also include those for special occasions such as sympathy letters for illness, death, fire and so on. Three examples are given for each occasion: a letter to a higher-ranking person, to an equal, and to a lower, indicated by symbols of cherry blossoms, maple leaf and bamboo leaves respectively.

Both volumes together include five illustrations by the artist: one double-page and two single-page illustrations in vol.1; two single-page in vol.3. They are lively depictions of women in everyday activities that correspond to some of the occasions included in the text.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2002.