1 Minute 1 Work: The Sake-drinking Boy

Shantell Martin

In the 17th century, an unseen demand for prints and illustrated books, especially of entertaining character, emerged in Japan. Series like ‘The Sake-drinking Boy’ or ‘Shutendôji’ (ca. 1680) by Hishikawa Moronobu were traded widely and found fervent admirers in the print-hungry audience of the upcoming merchant classes. Today, we still marvel at the accomplished usage of line which artist like Moronobu developed during the early stages of the print movement (Ukiyo-e).

Shantell Martin, best known for her characteristic black-and-white drawings, tells us the legend behind ‘The Sake-drinking Boy’ and how the storytelling qualities of Moronobu’s line inspired her own work.

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It’s very simple but very profound. It’s very fluid, it tells a story. The Sake-drinking Boy by Hishikawa Moronobu was a story of this demon that was stealing women from the capital. And this person, Raikô, decided that they weren’t going to have that anymore and collected a group of people together that disguised themselves as priests. And the priests lured in this demon and they cut-off his head and then paraded that head throughout the town. But it’s depicted in these really nice illustrations which are almost like a storyboard, and they’re kind of realistic but also a little bit dreamy. What I really like about these is a mixture of such precise lines and then lines that feel like they’re really organic and free.That sense of knowing that this line is so confident and it’s so intentional is really inspiring to me. The goal is that your line becomes so purposeful that it can tell a story.

With thanks to

Roddy Bogawa

Shantell Martin Studio

 

Archive

Boston Museum of Fine Arts

 

Music

Music Vine

 

Artworks

Raikô Presenting Shutendôji’s Head to the Emperor, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13424

(CC0 1.0)

 

Raikô Pays His Respects to Shutendôji, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13417

(CC0 1.0)

 

Raikô and His Retainers Don Their Armor, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13415

(CC0 1.0)

 

The Severed Head of Shutendôji Attacks Raikô, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13421

(CC0 1.0)

 

Raikô and His Retainers Decapitate Shutendôji, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Japanese, Edo period, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Hishikawa Moronobu, Japanese, died 1694

Woodblock print (sumizuri-e); ink on paper, with some hand coloring added later

Horizontal ōban; 27.2 x 34.6 cm

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13420

Photograph © 2020 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

The Head of Shutendôji Paraded on an Ox-drawn Cart, from an unttitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13423

(CC0 1.0)

 

The Fight at Nijô Horikawa, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13428

(CC0 1.0)

 

The Fight at Nijô Horikawa, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.17078

(CC0 1.0)

 

Raikô’s Victory Procession, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13422

(CC0 1.0)

 

Kunitaka’s Beautiful Daughter Is Kidnapped by Demons, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13414

(CC0 1.0)

 

Watanabe no Tsuna Fights a Demon at the Rashômon Gate, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.17073

(CC0 1.0)

 

Raikô and His Retainers at the Entrance to Shutendôji’s Cave, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13416

(CC0 1.0)

 

The Mansion of Ikeda Chûnagon Kunitaka, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13413

(CC0 1.0)

 

The Demon’s Arm Is Presented at Court, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.17073

(CC0 1.0)

 

Watanabe No Tsuna Guarding the Demon’s Arm, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13427

(CC0 1.0)

 

Killing the Minor Demons, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13418

(CC0 1.0)

 

Killing the Minor Demons, from an untitled series of the Shutendôji story (II)

Hishikawa Moronobu, about 1680 (Enpō 8)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

11.13419

(CC0 1.0)

 

Garden Faces

Shantell Martin, 2012

© Shantell Martin

 

Martin at work on Dance Everyday (2017) at the former Houdaille Industries Plant, Buffalo, NY, in June 2017.

Photo: Connie Tsang

Shantell Martin, Official Website

The Sake-drinking Boy series by Hishikawa Moronobu at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Art of Japan: The Many Worlds of Ukiyo-e Prints, Sarah Thompson, assistant curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, speaks about the Japanese Prints collection and the art of ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e Search, Japanese Woodblock Print Search

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