Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Kambun Bijin

Photo: Paul Macapia

Kambun Bijin

17th century

Hinaya (Nonoguchi) Ryuho

Japanese, 1599 - 1669

As painter, haiku poet, and calligrapher, the versatile Kyoto artist Hinaya (or Nonoguchi) Ryuho (1595-1669) combined his impressive skills in this example of a haiku painting. A stylish young woman, wearing a brilliant colored kimono with decorative shogi (the Japanese board game pieces) designs, is captured turning aside in a graceful dancing movement. Viewers at that time could find a subtle double meaning in this witty and elegant work, because the word shogi phonetically translates as "a licensed prostitute."

Haiku poem on the left:

At Mount Otaba, petals fall like snow.
Can man know the beauties and feeling of these?
Her dancing figure is like flowers and her voice like perfume.

Color on silk
31 1/4 x 12 5/8 in. (79.38 x 32.07 cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Photo: Paul Macapia
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Legends, Tales, Poetry: Visual Narrative in Japanese Art, December 22, 2012 - July 21, 2013

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Refined Harmony: Decorative Arts from the Edo Period", March 7, 2003 - March 23, 2004

San Francisco, California, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, "Treasures of Japan", 1960 (1960)

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "A Thousand Cranes: Treasures of Japanese Art", February 5 - July 12, 1987 (2/05/1987 - 7/12/1987

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Japanese Art in the Seattle Art Museum", 1960 (1960)
Published ReferencesFuller, Richard E. "Japanese Art in the Seattle Art Museum: An Historical Sketch." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1960 ("Presented in commemoration of the Hundredth Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and the United States of America"), no. 167

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM