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(above)The Time Traveler Umeyama’s Drawing: Preliminary Drawing for Five Mokkenshu, 2016, Sumi ink and gouache on oriental paper, 22 x 40 inches

(left)Drawing of Labels for Umeyama’s Drawing: Preliminary Drawing for Five Mokkenshu, 2016, Graphite on paper, 24 x 18 inches

​(From the label Drawing)

Shoei Umeyama 


Preliminary Drawing for Five Mokkenshu, circa 2016

Ink and polychrome on oriental paper    


On loan from Penelope and Sonny

After returning to Japan, Umeyama was commissioned to make a scroll painting of Mokkenshu (fire hydrant) by Yoshinobu Tokugawa, who was the 15th and last Shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan during the 19th century. This work is a preliminary drawing for the scroll painting.


The finished scroll painting was well received by the shogun, and later the work was donated to a repository of the former Tokyo Imperial University Library and Museum. However, the original painting was destroyed by fire during a WWII air raid.


Umeyama’s classification of the five Mokkenshu is as follows:

  • The Armor (Yoroi Kabuto Gata)

  • The Pagoda (Nanpo Buttoh Gata)

  • The Family Crests (Monsho Gata)

  • The Sun (Nichi-rin Gata)

  • The Box (Hako Gata)


He suggested that Mokkenshu might have also served as reliquary because of the similarity between the general shape of Mokkenshu and a reliquary from Horin-ji temple, Nara Japan.

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