Kubo Shunman was active during the Edo period and left behind a significant corpus of drawings and prints. He excelled at woodblock printing; during his lifetime, coloured woodcuts of the kind we show here were called surimono and had a wide audience between educated and wealthy Japanese classes. Having been educated during the 1780s, his style would be marked by the muted palettes encouraged by Tenmei-era regulations. During this period, the shogunate tried to force artists to use only a limited number of colours, so much so that an actual genre was born out of these laws, called beni-girai-e (literally, red-hating pictures). As you can see here, Shunman did use red, but in most of his work he is always careful to omit at least one fundamental hue, giving the canvas a washed out, flattened, very graphic effect. It is hard to say if in these depictions of everyday objects the prevailing feeling is a dry irony, or a certain affection and fascination for the details of everyday life.