Katsushika Hokusai, 1760–1849
The Manor’s Dishes
From the series One Hundred Tales, 1831-32
Color woodblock print (nishiki-e)
Gift of Louis W. Hill, Jr. 56.52.4
Cat. no. 163

This print illustrates the fate of Okiku, a servant who accidentally broke a precious plate from a set of ten. Angered by her clumsiness, her cruel master killed her and dumped her body into an old well. The troubled spirit of Okiku rises from the well each night and counts nine plates, whereupon she wails miserably and disappears back into her watery tomb. Here, her wet hair trails down a ghostly body composed of blue-and-white plates, and a smokelike wisp issuing from her mouth signifies her plaintive voice. The abandoned well is overgrown with ivy, a plant associated with decay.