Picture Book of Chrysanthemums


The chrysanthemum, the flower loved by Tao Yuan-ming (365−427), a distinguished Chinese poet of the Eastern Jin dynasty, was brought to Japan around the beginning of the Heian period (794−1185). The plant took root on Japanese soil and by the Edo period (1600−1868) several hundred different types of chrysanthemum were being cultivated in the country. Gakiku is the first picture book of chrysanthemums published in Japan. Its beautiful illustrations and Chinese-style poems introduced readers to 100 different varieties of the flower. The text and lines are printed in black from woodblocks; the illustrations are hand painted in yellow, white, red, purple, and other colors. The book contains a preface, written in 1519 by Eikin (1447−1537), a priest of the Rinzai Zen sect, which states that the illustrations were the work of Junpo (1504−49), the second son of a feudal lord of that time. The postscript and colophon at the end indicate that the book was published in 1691 and that the poems and postscript were added in that year.


Author of Introduction, etc.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Yao Yasutoyo (et al.), Hikone


Title in Original Language


Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 book ; 28.3 x 20.2 centimeters

Last updated: December 12, 2017