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  • About the Cover
  • David L. Howell

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details: The Monkey King Songokū, from the Chinese novel Journey to the West, Edo period, circa 1824–1825. Woodblock print (surimono); ink, color, and metallic pigments on paper; Shikishiban: H. 20.6 cm × W. 18.7 cm (8⅛ × 7⅜ in.). Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Friends of Arthur B. Duel, 1933.4.1716. Photo: Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

The collections of the Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard-Yenching Library include countless treasures of East and Inner Asian art. Many of these works were collected on behalf of the Harvard-Yenching Institute, which publishes the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. Hereafter, we will use HJAS’s cover to showcase pieces from these remarkable collections.

This issue’s cover features a print by Yashima Gakutei 八島岳亭 (ca. 1786–1868) of the Monkey King from Journey to the West 西遊記. Gakutei was a writer, surimono 摺物 (woodblock-print) artist, and kyōka 狂歌 (comic-verse) poet. In 1835, he published a partial Japanese translation of Journey to the West with his own and other prominent artists’ illustrations. The Katsushikaren 葛飾連, a kyōka circle with which Gakutei was closely affiliated, appears to have issued this print to commemorate New Year’s 1824, the year of the monkey. As was typical for surimono, it features kyōka, in this case by Ōbokuen Yoshiharu 桜木園吉治 (dates unknown) and the circle’s leader, Bunbunsha Kanikomaru 文々舎蟹子丸 (1787–1837). Both poems link the “sutra-reading monkey” (kyō yomu saru 経よむさる) to the New Year. The print reminds us that people throughout premodern East Asia knew, loved, and fully domesticated Journey to the West and other classics of Chinese literature. HJAS thanks the Harvard Art Museums for their kind permission to reproduce the image. The Journal also sincerely thanks John Carpenter, the Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for his guidance regarding the print. [End Page vi]

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6454
Print ISSN
0073-0548
Pages
p. vi
Launched on MUSE
2015-11-19
Open Access
No
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