Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)
A complete set of twelve silver and gold mica-ground tanzaku (poem-slips), painted in the urushi-e technique, in brown lacquer on paper, depicting customs and symbols associated with the twelve months of the year, comprising:
1) January: wakamatsu and plum tree.
2) February: a figure of Okame during the bean-throwing ceremony, mamemaki, the Setsubun Festival, held on the third day of the month.
3) March: tachi-bina dolls displayed during the Girl's Festival day, Hinamatsuri, held on the third day of the month.
4) April: Spring flowers, including tanpopo (dandelion), tsukushi (horsetail) and warabi (bracken).
5) May: shobu-gatana (a toy sword originally made from bundles of iris plants), the scabbard decorated with a takara-zukushi mon, lying across it with two arrows, in the Boy's Festival, Tango, held on the fifth day of the month, beside a sprig of futaba-aoi (hollyhock) leaves lying in front, a reminder of the Kamo-river Festival held on the fifteenth day of the month.
6) June: hatsu-gatsuo (tuna) lying in a basket, representing the first bonitos of the season with the advent of the summer.
7) July: a set of kaji (mulberry leaves) wrapped inside tied ryoshi, celebrating the Star Festival, Tanabata, held on the seventh day of the month.
8) August: a hotaru (dragonfly) hovering above an uchiwa (fan), lying beside nadeshiko (pink).
9) September: kuri (chestnuts) branch and net bag filled with kuri.
10) October: mangetsu (full moon), Chinese buildings among clouds, reflected against the full moon, festival of Tsukimi (moon-gazing).
11) November: sparrow flying beneath a snow-covered pine tree.
12) December: a leaping tai (bream) for osechi, alluding to the preparation of dishes made to eat to celebrate the New Year.
Each tanzaku signed Zeshin with seal Zeshin; with tomobako titled Tanzaku and signed by the artist Tairyukyo Zeshin with seal; with certificate of authentication by Shoji Chikushin. Each tanzaku 36.1 x 5.9cm (14¼in x 2 3/8in). (14).