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Sai in Waves

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MFA impressions: 11.45861.44, 11.45862.20, 11.45877 Probably intended for use in commercial design. A sai is an imaginary water animal, similar in appearance to a kirin ("unicorn") but with a turtle-like shell on its back. In modern Japanese, sai means "rhinocerous," just as kirin means...

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By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850–d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 19, 2005) NOTES: [1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

Japanese, Edo period, mid to late 18th century


Horizontal ôban; 29.2 x 38.5 cm (11 1/2 x 15 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (sumizuri-e); ink on paper