Seifū's Compendium of Hawkers and Mendicants (Seifūō Monouri Monomorai Zukushi)
[Painted by Shimizu Seifū]   Kaga Collection 356

Shimizu Seifū, well-known for his research on toys and games, produced this series of around 180 portraits of mobile vendors in the late Edo and Meiji periods.
This collection is thought to have been hand-drawn by the artist himself, with depictions of the vendors copied from a number of different books.

The picture to the left depicts a bonito fish vendor peddling his wares on the street. Walking the streets in their workmen's aprons, short coats and reverse-tied headbands, Edo's fishmongers epitomized the ebullient character of the townsfolk of Edo. When the first bonito fish of the season went on sale in summer, the townsfolk, always keen to sample new-season produce, would compete to purchase them.
In 1659 (Manji 2), the Shogunate issued permissions to 49 categories of mobile vendor in Edo, including food-related categories such as oil, green tea, drinking snacks, salt, miso, soy sauce, tokoroten jelly, and pounded rice cakes.