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Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

The Syllables Su and Kyô: Actors Sawamura Chôjûrô V as Fujiya Izaemon and Ichikawa Danjûrô VIII as Hanakawado no Sukeroku, from the series An Instructive Alphabet of Proverbs (Kyôkun iroha tatoe)

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No. 24 in the series. The complete series: 11.42589-11.42612.


Proverb for Su: Sui ga mi o kuu Proverb for Kyô: Kyô kanoko ni Edo murasaki 「すいが身をくふ」「京かの子に江戸むらさき」


Toyokuni ga 豊国画


Censors' seals: Kinugasa, Murata


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, about 1851 (Kaei 4)


Vertical ôban; 37.4 x 25.4 cm (14 3/4 x 10 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper