Masao Tsuchiya

(Japan 1913 – )

Poor man's banquet

Not on display
Further information

Folk art is distinguished by its rough immediacy and directions. Whereas folk art, in the form of prints, ceramics and various other utilitarian objects, had existed for centuries, it was Yanagi Soetsu (1889- 1961) who articulated its aesthetic parameters and defined it as a movement that developed an international following.

In this print Tsuchiya depicts two paupers drinking from a simple wine flask, against a blank background. All elements extraneous to their enjoyment of their wine have been eliminated. Tsuchiya has chosen to give his figures the masks of characters in a Kyogen play, a form of theatre used as the comic interlude in a Noh performance. He thus depersonalises their enjoyment, moving from the specific to the general. His point is that the unfortunate enjoy life despite their hardships - in fact they can get more pleasure from life than those who might have more.

Tsuchiya was born in Tokyo and still lives there. Like Akiyama ( 405.1993) he too had studied under Munakata Shiko, the master of strong black and white figurative folk images.

Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 96.

Place of origin
Japan: Heisei period 1989–
kappa stencil and silkscreen
80.0 x 55.0 cm image; 90.0 x 60.0 cm sheet
Signature & date

Signed l.r., in Japanese, pencil "Tsuchiya Masao" [and artist's seal]. Not dated.

Gift of the artist 1993
Accession number