Kikugawa Eizan, 1787-1867
Modern Children at Play
(Furyu kodakara asobi)
each sheet signed Kikugawa Eizan hitsu, with censor's seal kiwame (approved), and publisher's Tsuruki (crane) seal (Tsuruya Kiemon of Senkakudo), ca. 1814-17
oban tate-e triptych 31 1/8 by 15 3/8 in., 79.2 by 38.9 cm
A group of five young women with five children are on an outing to celebrate the New Year. The resplendently dressed beauties appear to be a combination of two courtesans, one at far right holding the hand of a girl, and one in the center with a small boy on her back who holds a miniature kite-type toy, together with three junior companions wearing their hair in a more youthful fashion with red fabric bows. The girl on the far left wears a black furisode ('swinging sleeves') kimono, a style associated with shinzo (teenaged apprentice) courtesans, bearing the tsurumon (crane crest) of Tsuruya Kiemon, the publisher of the print. She adjusts a hairpin while looking up at a shuttlecock in the air near the New Years decoration of kadomatsu ('gate pine') of pine and bamboo. Two of the girls hold hanetsuki (paddles) and one holds a shuttlecock near her mouth. Meanwhile the largest boy at far right holds the string to a large kite marked with the kanji for dragon which two of the other boys are preparing to release on his command. They are enjoying traditional New Year amusements: playing shuttlecock for girls, flying kites for boys.
John Stevenson, Japanese Kite Prints, The Drachen Foundation, 2004, pp. 58-59, cat. no. 18
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
July 3, 2020
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...