vanguard – (noun) 1. a group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas.
Home of a Foreign [American] Merchant in Yokohama
(Yokohama ijin shokan no zu)
signed Gountei Sadahide ga, with publisher's seal of Sanoki, and censor's date seal Aratame kyu-tori (year of the rooster , 9th month, examined)
oban tate-e triptych 14 5/8 by 30 in., 37.1 by 76.3 cm
In a precursor to the explosion of change to come during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), this scene of a lively gathering of foreigners on the second floor of a mercantile establishment is one of Sadahide's most famous Yokohama compositions. The view is across a verandah towards an dining area partially open to the port with clipper ships in the bay, the red and white stripes of a flag in the upper left corner suggest the occupants are American. In the foreground two foreign gentlemen pause near a western woman playing a stringed instrument similar to a violin but holding it in the manner of a guitar and plucking at its strings with a plectrum as though it were a shamisen. She is accompanied by geisha playing her shamisen while facing away from us. Two courtesans mingle nearby, one wearing a kimono with a red and white star pattern and a blue and white striped over-robe in an inversion of the stars and stripes of the American flag. A Chinese manservant smiles while descending a flight of stairs, apparently amused by a foreign boy who is tugging playfully at his queue (braid). In the background a group of foreigners enjoy a dinner party in a room decorated with framed paintings mounted high above the sliding doors with glass panes.
Sadahide designed a related triptych, Picture of Salerooms at a Foreign Merchant's House in Yokohama (Yokohama ijin shokan uriba no zu) that nicely lines up beneath this print, although both triptychs bear slightly different titles indicating that they were also sold separately.
Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1990, Leonhart Collection, p. 140-141, cat. no. 53
Yokohama Kaikou 150 Shunen Kinen - Yokohama Ukiyo-e - Kindai Nihon wo Hiraku, Kawasaki Isago No Sato Museum, 2009, cat. nos. 61-1 & 61-2 (both triptychs)
The Art Institute of Chicago, Emily Crane Chadbourne Collection, reference no. 1926.1784
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession no. JP3179
active ca. 1836-1887
Acrobats from 'Central India' Performing in Yokohama
(Tenjikujin Yokohama nite Karuwaza no Zu)
signed Yoshitora ga, with publisher's seal Fujikei-shi (Fujiokaya Keijiro), and censor's date seal, Ne-san, aratame (year of the rat , 3rd month, examined), ca. 1864
oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 10 in., 36.3 by 25.4 cm
In March of 1864 the multi-talented and colorful American gymnast and acrobat Richard Risley Carlisle (1814-1874) arrived in Japan with his traveling circus of ten acrobats and eight horses. The former postmaster (in New Jersey) and bounty hunter (in the town he founded, New Carlisle, Indiana), used the stage name of Professor Risley, and his signature talent (still known as the 'Risley act') was juggling objects, and children (initially his two sons, John and Henry), with his feet while lying on his back. Carlisle was prohibited from touring his show in Japan and was restricted to only performing in Yokohama, sharply limiting his potential audience. Catering to the foreign clientele, he billed the troupe as performing acrobatic tricks from Central India, which presumably sounded suitably exotic to the expatriate residents of Yokohama. When interest in the circus waned and the show closed, Carlisle stayed on in Japan to establish a dairy business, becoming the first seller of milk and ice in Japan. A few years later he formed a new show that he successfully toured through America and around the world as the 'Imperial Japanese Troupe.'
Gerhard Dambmann, Japan het Westen ontdekte: Een geschiedenis in houtsneden, 1988, p. 67, no. 26 (similar composition by Yoshitora)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession no. 2007.49.217
(inv. no. 10-5317)
Croue Soulie [The French Great Circus]
(Furansu dai kyokuba)
signed Yoshiharu ga, with publisher's seal Kiso, Bakurocho Yonchome, Kiya Sojiro han (Kiya Sojiro), combined date and censor seal Aratame hitsuji-san (examined,year of the goat , 3rd month)
oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 28 1/2 in., 36.5 by 72.3 cm
The French equestrian Louis Soullier brought his circus to Japan in 1871 opening on August 8th in Yokohama. Unlike his earlier circus counterpart Professor Risley, whose troupe in 1864 had been confined to only staging performances in Yokohama , Soullier was able to obtain permission to perform on grounds at the Yasakuni Shrine in Tokyo in December 1871 to great acclaim.
Julia Meech-Pekarik, The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization, 1986, p. 82 (on Soullier)
Edo Tokyo Museum, accession no. 92200346
Waseda University Theatre Museum (incomplete sheets): 012-0380, 012-0386, 012-0388
Philadelphia Museum of Art, accession no. 1968-165-24a-c (similar composition also by Yoshiharu)
(inv. no. 10-5230)
The Seaside Garden of the Tsukiji Hotel in the Eastern Capital [Plan of Hotel at Yedo, T'skege]
(Toto Tsukiji Hoterukan kaigan teizen no zu)
titled in kanji in the upper right, Toto Tsukiji Hoterukan kaigan teizen no zu, and in English at the upper left, PLAN of HOTEL at YEDO, T'Skege, 1868, signed Oju (by special request) Ichiyosai Kuniteru hitsu, with publisher's seal Arai (Arai Sannosuke) beside a larger seal Sahaisho (possibly the name of Arai Sannosuke's firm), and red cartouche identifying Kaigundenshujo (Naval Training Center), 1868
oban tate-e triptych 14 5/8 by 30 in., 37.3 by 76.2 cm
The Tsukiji Hotel, Japan's first Western-style hotel, opened in the autumn of 1868. It was designed by a Japanese master carpenter-cum-architect, Shimizu Kisuke II, who had trained with Western builders in Yokohama. Although the outward symmetrical design appeared foreign with belltower adorned with a weathervane, the construction was essentially Japanese with a timber frame, dark tiled outer walls and a tiled roof. Initially it was expected that the main entrance would be from the waterfront to receive passengers disembarking from the American-operated steamboat, City of Edo, that carried passengers between Tokyo and Yokohama, but a law restricting foreigners from direct entry by sea forced a reconfiguration of the entrance to the street side. The text to the right of the tower in the center sheet ennumerates the large building's specifications: facade 12 ken (21.8 meters); depth 40 ken (~72.8 meters); and height 9 jo, 4 shaku (~28.5 meters), and was said to house approximately 80-100 rooms. While it opened to much fanfare and publicity, inspiring numerous woodblock prints of the subject, the hotel was not particularly popular with the foreign residents and suffered the dual ignominy of first closing in 1871, and then burning to the ground the following year when a conflagration consumed a portion of Tokyo in the Ginza fire of 1872.
Julia Meech-Pekarik, The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization, 1986, pp. 79-80 (on the Tsukiji Hotel)
Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan, 1990, p. 180, no. 77
Gerhard Dambmann, Japan het Westen ontdekte: Een geschiedenis in houtsneden, 1988, pp. 54-55, no. 15
(inv. no. 10-5303)
View of Foreigner's Mansion in Yokohama
signed Oju Hiroshige ga, with publisher's seal hanmoto Tsunajima Kamekichi with combined censor and date seal, Hitsuji-san, aratame (year of the goat  3rd month, examined)
oban tate-e triptych 14 5/8 by 30 1/8 in., 37.3 by 76.5 cm
Although the title in the beautiful cartouche in the left sheet implies otherwise, the image is that of the unmistakable façade and front entrance to the Tsukiji Hotel, which was build in 1868 and destroyed by a fire in 1872.
active ca. 1836-1887
Elegant Fan Comparison
(Furyu ogi awase)
signed Yoshitora ga with red artist's seal, publisher's mark of Sawamuraya Seikichi, combined censor and date seal Aratame Mi-hachi (examined, year of the snake , 8th month)
oban tate-e triptych 14 3/4 by 29 5/8 in., 37.5 by 75.3 cm
This print is an example of Genji-e, pictures inspired by the serialized novel, A Rustic Genji by a Fraudulent Murasaki (Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji) a modern 'update' based on the 10th century courtly novel, The Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari) combining with Yokohama-e (pictures of the newly-opened foreigner's port of Yokohama). Mitsuuji, protagonist of the updated Genji, is depicted in the company of four beauties while standing in an interior with a open balcony overlooking the Bay of Tokyo. He directs his attention over his shoulder at the expansive view of the bay dotted with Japanese boats under sail beside moored foreign clipper ships and the landmark Tsukiji Hotel on the waterfront. Mitsuuji rests his arm on the top rail of a black lacquered Chinese chair, while one of his companions is seated upright in another and the three remaining beauties kneel Japanese-style on the tatami mats. The deep indigo fusuma panels in the background decorated with an elegant scattering of open folding fans, and the black lacquer balustrade are recognizable details identifying the location as the famous Fan Room (Ogi no Ma) of the Gankiro house- the largest brothel in the Miyozaki licensed pleasure quarters in Yokohama. The Gankiro catered to both Japanese and foreign customers in segregated areas of the two-story building which featured an interior courtyard with an arched bridge that was used as a stage for performances by the Gankiro's troupe of young dancers.
Julia Meech-Pekarik, The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization, 1986, pp. 32-33 (on Gankiro)
Andreas Marks, Genji's World in Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2012, p. 182-183, no. 181 Appendix I, p. 276, G494
(inv. no. 10-5233)
active ca. 1836-1887
Illustration of the Eight Views of Omi
(Omi hakkei zu)
signed Yoshitora ga with artist's red seal, publisher's seal of Sawamuraya Seikichi, and date seal Mizunoe-Saru, san (cyclical year 'elder brother water,' year of the monkey , 3rd month)
oban tate-e triptych 15 by 30 3/8 in., 38 by 77.2 cm
In this composition inspired by the wildly popular 'updated' Inaka Genji, the protagonist, Mitsuujii, is seen picnicking with four female companions while enjoying an imaginary panorama which incorporates all eight of the famous views associated with the classic grouping of 'Eight Views of Omi' (or Lake Biwa). From right to left the locations are identified as: Hira, Katada, Yabase, Karasaki, Mii, Awazu, Ishiyama, and Seta.
Andreas Marks, Genji's World in Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2012, p. 101, cat. no. 36; and p. 276, no. G498
(inv. no. 10-5093)
Evening View of Hashiba in Tokyo
(Tokyo hashiba watashi tasogare no kei)
the Japanese title centered on the top margin and with English title on the bottom margin, signed in red cartouche at lower left, Hoensha Kobayashi Kiyochika ga, with address, Wakamiya-cho nihyaku jusan banchi, and the publisher's name and address on the left margin, Yoshikawa-cho nibanchi (Wakamiya Town 213, Yoshikawa Town 2), Matsuki Heikichi ban, and dated at upper right, Meiji kyunen hachigatsu sanjuichika (Meiji 9  August 31st)
oban yoko-e 9 3/4 by 13 7/8 in., 24.7 by 35.3 cm
In August of 1876, Kiyochika and the publisher Matsuki Heikichi IV (1836-1891) embarked on an ambitious project of producing an untitled series of prints that depict views of the rapidly developing capital utilizing Western-style perspective and realism. Over a five-year period, Kiyochika would produce 17 designs with Matsuki, and a further 76 with the publisher Fukuda Kumajiro (act. 1874-98). Four of the first five prints issued featured titles in English, prominently centered in the bottom margin, suggesting that there was an intention to market the prints to the foreigners. Later impressions are missing these incongruous flourishes. Evening View of Hashiba in Tokyo is one of these early examples, identified with the English title, Evening View of Hashi-ba in To-Kei, annotated with an asterisk beside Hashi-ba followed by the puzzling detail erroneously identifying the area of Hashiba as a: *NAME OF STREET.
Tokichi Sakai, Kiyochika, The Japan Association for the Preservation of Ukiyo-e, translation by N.S. Gankow, 1969, no. 3
Hideki Kikkawa, Kobayashi Kiyochika: Studies in Light and Shadow of the Westernization of Japan, Seigensha Art Publishing, 2015, p. 58, nos. 73-75
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, p. 30, nos. 26-27
Snow Scene at Kourne Hikibune-dori
(Koume Hikifune-dori yuki no kei)
signed in the snow at the lower left, Kobayashi Kiyochika, the title along the bottom margin, Koume Hikifune-dori yuki no kei, dated in the upper cartouche on the right, Meiji juninen - tsuki - ga (Meiji 12  - month - day) followed by the name and address of the artist and the publisher, Fukuda Kumajiro, 1879
oban yoko-e 9 5/8 by 14 3/8 in., 24.4 by 36.5 cm
Exhibition of Kobayashi Kiyochika, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1998, p. 44, cat. no. 48
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, p.40, no. 43
(inv. no. 10-5219)
Rain and Moonlight at Gohommatsu
with a dusting of mica, signed at lower right, Kobayashi Kiyochika hitsu, the title along the bottom margin in kanji, Gohonmatsu ugetsu, dated in the upper cartouche on the right, otodo Meiji -nen -gatsu -ka (registered, Meiji -year, -month, -day), followed by publisher, Fukuda Kumajiro located in Hasegawa-cho, and the artist, Goko Kobayashi Kiyochika, with his address in Yonezawa-cho, 1880
oban yoko-e 9 1/4 by 13 1/4 in., 23.4 by 33.5 cm
Tokichi Sakai, Kiyochika, The Japan Association for the Preservation of Ukiyo-e, translation by N.S. Gankow, 1969, no. 52
Exhibition of Kobayashi Kiyochika, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1998, p. 35, no. 28
Hideki Kikkawa, Kobayashi Kiyochika: Studies in Light and Shadow of the Westernization of Japan, Seigensha Art Publishing, 2015, p. 42, no. 56
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, p. 70, no. 99
(inv. no. 10-5014)
Sunset: The Bureau for Paper
Money at Tokiwa Bridge
(Tokiwabashi nai shiheiryo no zu)
the title along the bottom margin in kanji, Tokiwabashi nai shiheiryo no zu, dated in the upper cartouche on the right, otodo Meiji jusannen -gatsu -ka (registered, Meiji 13, -month, -day), followed by publisher, Fukuda Kumajiro located in Hasegawa-cho, and the artist, Goko Kobayashi Kiyochika, with his address in Yonezawa-cho, 1880
oban yoko-e 9 3/4 by 14 1/2 in., 24.7 by 36.7 cm
Tokichi Sakai, Kiyochika, The Japan Association for the Preservation of Ukiyo-e, translation by N.S. Gankow, 1969, no. 55
Kiyochika, Goyo, Shinsui hanga ten: Meiji, Taisho no ukiyo-e shi, Seibu Hyakkaten, 1976, no. 36
Exhibition of Kobayashi Kiyochika, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1998, p. 25, no. 9
Hideki Kikkawa, Kobayashi Kiyochika: Studies in Light and Shadow of the Westernization of Japan, Seigensha Art Publishing, 2015, p. 26, no. 30
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, p. 75, no. 108
(inv. no. 10-5015)
The Fountain Outside the Art Museum at the Second Exhibition for the Promotion of Domestic Industry
(Dai nikai nai kangyo hakurankai nai bijutsukan funsui)
with a dusting of mica on the darker shadows of the figures, signed with a foreword by the artist at top right in Japanese, Funsui no jinbutsu okinaredo hanmoto no shinshu kotaeshite hitsu, Koboyashi Kiyochika, the title along the bottom margin in kanji, Dai nikai nai kangyo hakurankai nai bijutsukan funsui, dated in the upper cartouche on the right, otodo Meiji juyonen (registered, Meiji 14 ), followed by the publisher, Fukuda Kumajiro located in Hasegawa-cho, and the artist, Gako Kobayashi Kiyochika, with his address in Yonezawa-cho, 1881
oban yoko-e 9 1/8 by 13 1/4 in., 23.3 by 33.7 cm
During the Meiji era, Japan participated in the major international expositions including Paris (1867, 1889, 1900), Vienna (1873), Philadelphia (1876), Chicago (1893) where they focused on primarily exhibiting a vast array of works of art. Domestically, the government sponsored three National Industrial Expositions (Naikoku Kangyo Hakurankai) in Ueno Park in Tokyo in 1877, 1881 and 1890, followed by two more, one in Kyoto (1895) and another in Osaka in 1903. The domestic expositions also exhibited art and decorative works designed to appeal to the foreign market, as well as demonstrations of Japan's industrial innovations.
This image depicts the exterior of the purpose-built brick Honkan (main gallery) exhibition hall, with its grand fountain comprised of shojo (mythical creatures inordinately fond of drinking) upholding an enormous sake jar facing the main entrance. Celebrated at the time of it's construction as being particularly solid, it was particularly disappointing that it was severely damaged in the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923. Replaced with a new building in 1938 featuring a more traditional Japanese roofline, the second Honkan is the current home of the Tokyo National Museum.
Tokichi Sakai, Kiyochika, The Japan Association for the Preservation of Ukiyo-e, translation by N.S. Gankow, 1969, no. 85
Exhibition of Kobayashi Kiyochika, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1998, p. 26, no. 10
Hideki Kikkawa, Kobayashi Kiyochika: Studies in Light and Shadow of the Westernization of Japan, Seigensha Art Publishing, 2015, p. 32, no. 41
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, p. 77, no. 112
(inv. no. 10-5022)
Hunter with Eagle Diptych
(Teppou uchi ryoushi)
printed artist and carver's signatures barely visible along the corner edge of the rock at bottom left, Kobayashi Kiyochika, and carver, Eikichi, publisher, Matsuki Heikichi, ca. 1880
oban tate-e diptych 14 1/8 by 19 3/8 in., 36 by 49.3 cm
Henry D. Smith II, Kiyo-Chika: Artist of Meiji Japan, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1988, p. 31, no. 18
Exhibition of Kobayashi Kiyochika, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1998, p. 63, no. 79
Anne Rose Kitagawa and Akiko Walley, eds. Expanding Frontiers: The Jack and Susy Wadsworth Collection of Postwar Japanese Prints, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, 2015, p. 24, fig. 7 (from the Michels Collection)
Hideki Kikkawa, Kobayashi Kiyochika: Studies in Light and Shadow of the Westernization of Japan, Seigensha Art Publishing, 2015, p. 93, no. 122
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, p. 100, no. 150
(inv. no. 10-5085)
Learning from Ancient Annual Events
(nko nenju gyojishu)
ehon with blue cover with title slip, Onko nenju gyoji, Senzai Eitaku ga, with red title page (pieces missing), Onko nenchu gyoji, with unread signature and seal, the last illustration signed Senzai Eitaku, dated on the colophon, Meiji jurokunen junigatsu (Meiji 16 , December), and signed Senzai Eitaku, published by Kyukodo in 1883
ehon 8 7/8 by 5 7/8 in., 22.5 by 15 cm
A picture book illustrating traditional celebrations and rituals associated with various events and festivities throughout the year. The title of the publication, Learning from Ancient Annual Events, reflects the Meiji era interest in preserving Japanese culture amidst the overwhelming incursion of foreign influences.
Kobayashi Eitaku (Eitoku) was the son of a fishmonger who studied with the Kano school painter Kano Eitaku Tatsunobu (1814-1891). Early in his career Eitaku was employed by Chief Minister Ii Naosuke (1815-1860) the daimyo of Hakone who granted Eitoku the (soon to be irrelevant) rank of samurai. An influential shogunal advisor, Chief Minister Ii was assassinated outside Edo Castle at the Sakurada Gate on a snowy evening in 1860. Following the murder of his patron, Eitaku began traveling, and eventually would return to Tokyo to settle in the Nihonbashi district. In the spring of 1871 he befriended the artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)-- some accounts regard Eitoku as a student of Yoshitoshi, others reverse the hierarchy. The two artists began a period of exchanging knowledge and that year embarked on a sketch tour together as far as Kofu in Kai province where they apparently had a falling out and parted ways. One wonders if Yoshitoshi regretted sharing his expertise on ukiyo-e style design work as Eitaku would produce illustrations for the same publications that commissioned works from Yoshitoshi, and he illustrated the biography of Ulysses S. Grant by the popular writer Kanagaki Robun, a frequent collaborator of Yoshitoshi's.
Eitaku is also linked to the other great Meiji period ukiyo-e artist, Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889), and his painted works display a vitality that suggests a strong influence from the exuberant elder master. Eventually, Eitaku found his own niche and became well-known for his numerous illustrations children's fairy tales by Hasegawa Takejiro (1853-1936) produced as chirimenbon (crepe paper books) in foreign languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish). In contrast, he also produced some of the most extreme erotica of the period, including elaborately painted images of bestiality, and shared Kyosai's interest in death and decay as demonstrated by a handscroll in the British Museum which illustrates the body of a courtesan in nine stages of decomposition. He was also the teacher of Tomioka Eisen (1864-1905), a distinctive painter who also designed very fine kuchi-e (frontispiece illustrations to serialized novels).
Harvard Art Museum (harvardartmuseums.org), accession no. 1977.122
The British Museum (britishmuseum.org), for the courtesan decomposition handscroll, accession no. 2008,3033.1
Artist Kakunen (Tokutaro) Tsuruoka (1892-1977)
(inv. no. C-1226)
Educational Pictorial Instructions: Animals, no. 8, Tiger
(Kyoiku kunga: Dobutsu dai hachi, Tora)
unsigned the artist; the series title Kyoiku kunga in the red cartouche, followed by pink cartouche subtitled, Dobutsu dai hachi (animals, design number eight) ending with the print title in kanji and hiragana, Tora, and in English, TIGER; the inset cartouche at upper left helpfully identifies the illustration: tora no shita (tiger tongue); dated twice on the left margin Meiji jukyunen ichigatsu jugoka, shuppan on todoke (Meiji 19  January 15, publisher registered), and again, Meiji jukyunen ichigatsu shuppan (Meiji 19  published), with name and address for publisher Hayashi Manjiro, ca. 1886
oban yoko-e 10 1/8 by 15 in., 25.7 by 38.2 cm
This print is from an unsigned series of perhaps fifty images produced by the publisher featuring a vaiety of animals, each identified in English with descriptive text in Japanese. The publisher does not seem to have been in business for long, although his name was known, he was not included in Andreas Marks' publisher compendium due to the lack of specific attributable publications. Surviving works from the series are very scarce; eight other known designs include: no. 1, Orangutan(?); no. 6, Lion; no. 24, Camel; no. 26, Sea Unicorn (Narwhal); no. 29, Kangaroo; no. 43, Ostrich; no. 49, Serpent(?); and no. 50, Sea Turtle(?).
(inv. no. 10-5392)
Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation: Settsu no Zenji (HIri) Yasumasa Playing Flute while Hakamadara Yasusuke Approaches
(Chuko meiyo kijin den: Fujiywara no Yasumasa)
signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga with artist's kiri seal, with censor's seal Kinugasa, published by Enshuya Matabei, ca. 1845
oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 9 3/4 in., 36.5 by 24.8 cm
This print illustrates a' kabuki scene based on a story about Fujiwara Yasumasa (Hirai Yasumasa, 958-1036) who was a Heian period noble warrior who held several important governing positions and was also a poet and musician. In the episode, the bandit Hakamadare Yasusuke (in some versions they are estranged brothers) stalks Yasumasa who is playiing his flute while traveling along the Ichihara Moor at night. Yasusuke intends to attack Yasumasa in order to rob him of his resplendant clothing, but he is instead subdued by the nobleman's flute playing.
Variations of this story were incorporated into kabuki dramas throughout the 18th and 19th century, and were subsequently illustrated in a number of woodblock prints. Kuniyoshi returned to this subject again in 1852 with another oban-sized print depicting Hakamadare stalking Yasumasa seen in the distance as part of a Sixty-Nine Stations of the Tokaido figural series.
(inv. no. C-3007)
Autumn Moon at Toin [Flute Player Triptych]
(Toin no aki no tsuki)
signed Yoshitoshi with red artist's seal, with publisher's seal of Katada Chojiro, dated Meiji nijunananen shogatsu (Meiji 27 , 4th month); design first published in 1868, this version published in 1894
oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 27 3/4 in., 36.4 by 70.5 cm.
This print illustrates a kabuki scene based on a story about Fujiwara Yasumasa (Hirai Yasumasa, 958-1036) who was a Heian period noble warrior who held several important governing positions. In the episode, the bandit Hakamadare Yasusuke (in some versions they are estranged brothers) stalks Yasumasa who is playiing his flute while traveling along the Ichihara Moor at night. Yasusuke intends to attack Yasumasa in order to rob him of his resplendent clothing, but he is instead subdued by the nobleman's flute playing.
Variations of this story were incorporated into kabuki dramas throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and were subsequently illustrated in a number of woodblock prints. Yoshitoshi depicted this episode several times in his career, following the lead of his teacher, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (17981861) who illustrated the subject in at least two different oban sized series. This triptych by Yoshitoshi is a posthumous reprinting of his first desgin related to the episode which was issued in 1868 by Sanoya Tomigoro with a background designed by Katsukawa Shuntei III. He returned to the theme in 1879 in a background cartouche with a half-length portrait of a beauty; and then again with a large painting he submitted to the first government Exhibition for the Advancement of National Painting (Naikoku kaiga kyoshinkai) in 1882. That painting was quickly made into a woodblock print the following year, resulting in Yoshitoshi's most famous illustration of the scene (and his most well-known work), now popularly known as 'The Flute Player Triptych.' Five years later Yoshitoshi condensed the scene again into a single oban-sheet in his One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series.
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, no. series no. 200 (this design not listed)
Amy Reigle Newland & Chris Uhlenbeck, Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Freis Collection, 2011, p. 88, nos 51 & 51a (date misread as Meiji 17 )
Yuriko Iwakiri, Yoshitoshi, 2014, p. 297
Minneapolis Institute of Art, accession nos. 2017.106.85a-c (1868 version); 2017.106.86a-c (earliest version of 1894 printing with Yasumasa in blue robe)
(inv. no. C-3005)
The Painting 'Fujiwara Yasumasa Plays the Flute by Moonlight' Displayed at the Exhibition for the Promotion of Painting in Autumn 1882
(Meiji jugo mizunoe uma kisho Kaiga Kyoshinkai shuppinga Fujiwara Yasumasa gekka roeki)
signed oju Taiso Yoshitoshi sha, with artist's seals Taiso and Yoshitoshi, and publisher's date and address seal Meiji jurokunen, nigatsu, junika; Tokyo Nihonbashi Muromachi Sanchome 9-[ban]chi, shuppanjin Akiyama Buemon (Meiji 16  February 12) of Akiyama Buemon of Kokkeido
oban tate-e triptych 14 1/8 by 28 1/2 in., 36 by 72.4 cm
Fujiwara Yasumasa (Hirai Yasumasa 958-1036) was a Heian period noble warrior who held several governing positions and was renown as a poet and musician. According to lore, he and his brother, Hakamadare Yasusuke, had parted ways when Yasusuke became an outlaw rather than serve under the powerful warrior Raiko (948-1021). This print illustrates a story made famous in various kabuki dramas in which Yasusuke, attempting to rob his brother of his robes, is entranced by Yasumasa's flute playing and leaves his brother unharmed.
This subject was not new to Yoshitoshi. His mentor Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) as well as Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) designed prints based on this scene before Yoshitoshi first approach it in 1868 with a different triptych. Yoshitoshi returned to the subject, albeit in the abbreviated form of a background cartouche within a half-length portrait of a courtesan, in 1879, and then again with a large painting he submitted to the first government Exhibition for the Advancement of National Painting (Naikoku kaiga kyoshinkai) in 1882. After viewing the painting, the publisher Akiyama Buemon commissioned Yoshitoshi to adapt it to a woodblock print format the following year. Five years after designing the triptych illustrated here, Yoshitoshi condensed the scene in a single oban-sheet in his One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series. This version, popularly known as 'The Flute Player Triptych,' is generally considered his greatest masterpiece.
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 452, no. 455
Shinichi Segi, Yoshitoshi the Splendid Decadent, 1985, foldout frontispiece
Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, pp. 63-64, no. 43
Akita Museum of Modern Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: The Last Ukiyo-e Artist of Genius, 1999, p. 17, no. 36
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's 100 Aspects of the Moon, 2001, p. 52, no. 62
Amy Reigle Newland & Chris Uhlenbeck, Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Fries Collection, 2011, pp. 112-113, no. 81
Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: 120th Memorial Retrospective, 2012, p. 109, no. 160
Worcester Art Museum, accession no. 2004.46 (1882 painting)
(inv. no. 10-5277)
Hakamadare Yasusuke Approaching Fujiwara no Yasumasa Playing the Flute by Moonlight
with lacquer printing on the central figure's hat and flute, and the black clothing on the other figures; signed Yoshu Chikanobu hitsu with artist' red Toshidama seal, with publisher's seal of Fukuda Kumajiro and dated Meiji jurokunen, gogatsu (Meiji 16 , May)
oban tate-e triptych 14 1/2 by 28 7/8 in., 36.7 by 73.2 cm
This print illustrates a'kabuki scene based on a story about Fujiwara Yasumasa (Hirai Yasumasa, 958-1036) who was a Heian period nobleman and warrior who held several important governing positions and was also renowned as a poet and flautist. In the episode, the bandit Hakamadare Yasusuke (in some versions they are estranged brothers) stalks Yasumasa who is playing his flute while traveling along the Ichihara Moor at night. Yasusuke intends to attack Yasumasa in order to rob him of his resplendent clothing, but he is instead subdued by the nobleman's flute playing.
Variations of this story were incorporated into kabuki dramas throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and were subsequently illustrated in a number of woodblock prints. This print references the Ichiharano no Danmari version of the story first staged at the Ichimuraza in 1822 under the title Ichiharano Tsuki no Nagame. A danmari is a short scene with almost no dialogue in which characters grope in the dark for some sort of treasure. In the danmari for this episode, the encounter in between Yasumasa (center) and Yasusuke (right) takes place in the presence of the beautiful princess Kidomaru (in the inset circular cartouche), with the story guided by the narrator illustrated in the upper left diagonal panel.
The composition relates closely to the famous 'Flute Player Triptych' by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), who had achieved much attention the previous year for his large painting of the subject that was exhibited at the first government Exhibition for the Advancement of the National Painting (Naikoku kaiga kyoshinkai), a design which was quickly adapted into woodblock print format by the publisher Akiyama Buemon. The print version was released in February of 1883 and was wildly successful. A few months later the kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903), likely prompted by Yoshitoshi's imagery, included the Ichiharano no Danmari in the drama Seki Konroku Haru no Komagiku staged in April 1883, casting Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899) as Hakamadare Yasusuke, Onoe Taganojo II (1849-1899) as Kidomaru, and himself, recognizable here, as Hirai Yasumasa. This print was published the following month.
Although the similarities with Yoshitoshi's composition are striking, by depicting Shikan in the role of Kidomaru in the inset cartouche and prominently featuring the narrator in the upper left, Chikanobu establishes that we are viewing not merely a composition inspired by Yoshitoshi, but an illustration of Danjuro's performance which was inspired by Yoshitoshi.
Legion of Honor, accession no. 1986.1.93
Robert O. Muller Collection, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, accession no. S2003.8.2609
(inv. no. C-3006)
The Record of the Great Pacification of the Keian Period: Ichikawa Sadanji I as Marubashi Chuya
(Keian Taiheiki: Marubashi Chuya Ichikawa Sadanji)
signed Oju (by special request) Toyohara Kunichika hitsu with artist's seal Kunichika, the role identified, Maruybashi Chuya, followed by the actor's name, Ichikawa Sadanji, with carver's seal Horiko Gin (Asai Ginjiro, 1844-94), publisher's information of Matsumoto Eikichi ban, and Kunichika's address (under his birth name Arakawa Yasohachi), and dated Otodoke Meiji juroku-nen roku-gatsu -ka (published Meiji 16 , June)
oban tate-e triptych 14 5/8 by 29 5/8 in., 37.1 by 75.3 cm
The actor Ichikawa Sadanji I (1842-1940) is in the role of Marubashi Chuya from the play Keian Taiheiki (Record of the Great Pacification of the Keian Period). The play tells the story of the Keian Uprising of 1651, a failed coup led by Marubashi's historical counterpart (d. 1651) against the Tokugawa shogunate. The scene takes place at the moat outside of Edo Castle.
According to the historical account, Marubashi was a member of a group which intended to take Edo castle as part of a larger plan to overthrow the shogunate. However, he fell ill and during feverish dreams, he revealed the secrets of the plan which the Shogun's allies eventually heard about and were able to act upon. Marubashi was arrested and executed, and most of his co-conspirators either committed seppuku or were tortured and killed. The kabuki role of Marubashi Chuya was the lead in the play Keian Taiheiki, and had been portrayed Sadanji I at the premiere in 1870.
Nobutaka Imamura, ed., Ukiyo-e (Kunichika), Kyoto University of Art & Design, March 2018, p. 84, no. 703
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, triptych no. 4 in an album of 32 triptychs by various artists, accession no. 1999.457.2
(inv. no. 10-4998)
Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Benkei in the play Kanjincho
(Ichikawa Danjuro, Kanjincho no Benkei)
finely carved and printed with karazuri (blind printing) on the white rope and pom-pom tassles and with metallic pigment, the actor identified on the left sheet, Ichikawa Danjuro, signed Oju Yoshitoshi ga, with artist's seal Yoshitoshi no in, dated in red seal, Meiji nijusan-nen shigatsu tsuitachi, insatsu, shuppan (Meiji 23 , April 1st, printed and published), publisher's seal on the right, Gako ken Shuppan-nin Akiyama Buemon located in Nihonbashi-ku, followed by the carver's seal Hori Yu (Wada Yujiro), the right sheet includes a poem signed Keika, 1890
oban tate-e triptych 14 3/8 by 29 in., 36.6 by 73.7 cm
The actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1868-1912) is in the role of Musashibo Benkei from the play Kanjicho (The Subscription List). The print depicts the scene where Yoshitsune and Benkei are disguised as itinerant priests in order to get through the customs barrier of Ataka. Benkei recites the empty scroll (the subscription list) aloud and the warden allows them to pass.
The poem inscribed:
hana no ma mo
Keika with seal, Nin gen ban ji
Yoshitoshi's friend Katsurakaen Keika (1829-1899) was a haiku poet who composed the square cartouche texts on the prints in the One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series.
In 1890 Yoshitoshi issued a small group of kabuki-related triptychs which were published by one of his great collaborators, Akiyama Buemon. It was near the end of his career, but also at a highpoint, while artist and publisher were still in the midst of production of the moon series and Yoshitoshi was also working on New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts with a different publisher. The triptychs stand out with their lavish printings of bold compositions featuring a single half-length portrait of a figure against a minimal or stark background across three horizontally aligned sheets, which was a format that the artist Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) had embraced over the previous decade.
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, 492, no. 516
Eric van den Ing, Robert Schaap, Beauty & Violence: Japanese Prints by Yoshitoshi 1839-1892, 1992, p. 146, no. 69
Akita Museum of Modern Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: The Last Ukiyo-e Artist of Genius, 1999, p. 25, no. 65
Yuriko Iwakiri, Yoshitoshi, 2014, pp. 194-195, no. 306
Art Institute of Chicago (artic.edu), reference no. 1984.569
Harvard Art Museum (harvardartmuseums.org), object no. 1988.2
(inv. no. 10-5181)
The Golden Gate and the Paulownia Crest: Actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Ishikawa Goemon
(Sanmon gosan no kiri: Ishikawa Goemon, Ichikawa Danjuro)
signed at the lower left, Oju (by special request)Toyohara Kunichika hitsu, with his seal, Toyohara ga-in, title on the right of the figure, Sanmon gosan no kiri, and on the left, Ishikawa Goemon, Ichikawa Danjuro, publisher's seal with dates at the lower left corner, Meiji nijukyunen nigatsu nijuyonnichi, insatsu (Meiji 29 , February 24, printed), -nen -gatsu -ka, hakko (-year, -month, -day, published), rinsha insatsu ken hakkosha Fukuda Kumajiro, with his address in Nihonbashi Hasegawacho, carver Watanabe Tsunejiro's square seal, Nisei Watanabe Hori Ei, 1896
oban tate-e triptych 14 by 28 3/8 in., 35.5 by 72.2 cm
The actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1839-1903) is in the role of the notorious bandit Ishikawa Goemon from the play Sanmon Gosan no Kiri (The Golden Gate and the Paulownia Crest), performed at the Meiji Threatre in March, 1896. This kabuki play was first performed at Dotonbori Kado Theatre in 1778 and was originally part of a five-act jidaimono play called Kinmon Gosan no Kiri. This fictional story takes place at the Sanmon (main gate) of Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto. Goemon was a chivalrous robber who attempted to assassinate the powerful rulers of his time in order to avenge his father's death. The print depicts the famous scene of Goemon, gorgeously dressed and holding a kiseru (pipe), right before he hears about his long-lost father's murder and swears to take on a journey to achieve vengeance. In the end, Goemon is boiled alive along with his child by the orders of the preeminent daimyo, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Kunichika is closely associated with portraits of the three leading performers of their time who were largely credited with revitalizing kabuki: Ichikawa Danjuro IX, Onoe Kikugoro (1844-1903), and Ichikawa Sadanji (1842-1904), collectively known as the Dan-Kiku-Sa. This dramatic compositional format depicting a single actor alone across three panels of a triptych with little else to identify a specific kabuki scene was established by Kunichika in the later years of his career.
Amy Reigle Newland, Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika, 1999, p. 158, Appendix I (on seals)
Andreas Marks, Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Compendium, 2011, p. 92, seal no. 30-046
Nobutaka Imamura, ed., Ukiyo-e (Kunichika), Kyoto University of Art & Design, March 2018, p. 99, no. 825
(inv. no. 10-5122)
Newly Publlished Wigs to Put On: Ichikawa Danjuro IX and Nakamura Fukusuke IV
(Shinpan katsura-tsuke: Ichikawa Danjuro, Nakamura Fukusuke)
omocha-e (toy print), signed in the red cartouche to the left of Danjuro's shoulder, Kunichika, dated on the left margin Meiji sanjunen yongatsu (Meiji 30 , April) with publisher name, Matsuno Yonejiro, 1897
oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 9 3/4 in., 37.1 by 24.8 cm
Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903), on the right, was one of the most important kabuki actors of the Meiji Period (1868-1912) who is credited, in part, with revitalizing and redefining the theater for the modern era. He is accompanied here by Nakamura Fukusuke IV (Nakamura Utaemon V, 1865-1940), whose adoptive father was Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899), an important contemporary of Danjuro IX. Fukusuke IV expanded his range beyond the traditional masculine roles favored by the Nakamura line and became regarded as one of the best onnagata (actor specializing in female roles) of the early 20th century. The pairing of the elder Danjuro with the younger Fukusuke represents and interesting transition from Danjuro, here late in his career, to Fukusuke, one of the actors who will carry kabuki forward into the 20th century.
This composition is an omocha-e (toy print), the various wigs could be cut out and placed on the actors' unadorned heads. Designed to be used and typically destroyed in the process of playing with them, omocha-e, for board games like sugoroku or paper cut-outs like this example, are quite scarce. (inv. no. 10-5336)
active ca. 1883-1895
Improved Chignon Styles for Women
(Fujin sokuhatsu kairyo zu)
dated on the left margin, Meiji juhachinen kyugatsu -ka (Meiji 18 , September) followed by gako ken shuppanjin (artist and publisher) Yokoyama Ryohachi, ca. 1885
oban tate-e 14 7/8 by 10 1/8 in., 37.8 by 25.6 cm
In an effort to slow the pace of the Westernization of Japanese women, in 1873 the government issued an edict that women were prohibited from cutting their hair short. Nevertheless, traditional Japanese women's hairstyles were increasingly regarded as an unnecessary burden- requiring expensive and time-consuming styling with oils and fillers that were difficult to take down to wash and comb out. Citing a desire for more practical, affordable, and hygienic options, in 1885 the Women's Chignon Society (Fujin Sokuhatsu Kai) was established. This print, released in the same year, supports their efforts by providing a helpful 'how to' guide for ladies seeking to learn out to style their hair in Western hairstyles, including the chignon, the coil, the braid and the pompadour.
Perhaps because it was still controversial in the eyes of conservative authorities, the print is not signed within the composition, however, the publisher, Yokoyama Ryohachi claims credit for the design on the left margin. Based in Tokyo, Ryohachi was active as a publisher from 1883 to 1895, publishing works by leading artists of the time including Utagawa Kunichika (1835-1900), Toyohara Chikanobu (1838-1912), and Ogata Gekko (1857-1920). The foreign flourish utilizing two plump putti holding and unfurled banner is a format associated with the mastheads of print publications featuring news, possibly first established by Ochiai Yoshiiku (1833-1904) on a promotional sheet for the Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun Onishiki (Tokyo Daily News) published by Gusokuya in the summer of 1874.
Rebecca Copeland, Fashioning the Feminine: Images of the Modern Girl Student in Meiji Japan, 2006
William Wetherall, Cherubs and Banners, nishikie.com, 2008
University of Tokyo, Center for Modern Japanese Law and Political History, Graduate School of Law and Politics, Meiji Shimbun no. 10900
(inv. no. 10-5316)
Woman's Chignon Wigs to Put On
(Fujin sokuhatsu katsura-tsuke)
dated in the publisher cartoche at lower left, on todoke Meiji juhachinen kyugatsu (Meiji 18 , September, registered), with the address and family name of the artist, gako (artist) Takeuchi Eikyu, and of the publisher, Hanmoto (publisher) Ueki Rinnosuke (Ebiya Rinnosuke of Kaijudo), ca.1885
oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 5/8 in., 35.4 by 24.4 cm
The title of this print refers to 'sokuhatsu' which was a new term used to refer to western-style chignon and its variations which were gaining in popularity and becoming socially acceptable with the help of the establlishment of the Fujin Sokuhatsu Kai (Women's Chignon Society) in 1885, the same year that this print was published.
Gerhard Dambmann, Japan het Westen ontdekte: Een geschiedenis in houtsneden, 1988, p. 121, no. 49
(inv. no. 10-5337)
b. 1853, active ca. 1870-1908
Illustrations of Chignons by Women of Great Japan
(Dai Nihon Fujin sokuhatsu zu kai)
signed Shosai Ginko with red artist's seal, the publisher's information on the upper left corner of the left sheet within in the yellow cartouche formed by the curling end of the long informative text, shuppanjin (publisher) Okura Magobei (of Kin'eido), and dated in lower left corner, on todoke Meiji juhachinen kyugatsu (registered Meiji 18 , September), and priced ni [sen] kyu [rin] (2 sen 5 rin), 1885
obaiban tate-e triptych 14 3/8 by 29 5/8 in., 36.5 by 75.1 cm
A beauty sits before a kyodai (vanity) while a maid works on dressing her hair. Scattered around her are illustrations mimicking carte-de-visite type photographs of various chignon hairstyles, with front, back and profile views.
This triptych was produced in support of, or prompted by, the establishment of the Fujin Sokuhatsu Kai (Women's Chignon Society) in 1885. The first part of the long text promotes chignon hairstyles as being healthy, and thereby benefiting the nation. The second half provides detailed instructions on how to create the newly socially acceptable hairstyles.
The British Museum, accession no. 2014,3037.4.1-3
The University of British Columbia Library, Asian Rare-6, no. L3:3
(inv. no. 10-5334)
A Collection of Pictures of Chignon Wigs to Put On
(Katsura-tsuke sokuhatsu zukai)
each sheet signed Yoshu Chikanobu hitsu with artist's red Toshidama seal, block carver's seal Horiko Gin, and dated on one sheet, Meiji nijunen gogatsu (Meiji 20 , 5th month) within the publisher's cartouche shuppanjin Hayashi Kichizo (Tsutaya Kichizo of Koeido), 1887
oban tate-e triptych 14 1/8 by 27 7/8 in., 36 by 70.7 cm
Two years after the establishment of the Fujin sokuhatsu kai (Woman's Chignon Society) in 1885, the publication of this print reflects that there was an understandable continuing market for materials that would guide Japanese women as the adapted their hairstyles to a more Western mode that was easier to maintain.
Although each of the sheets of this triptych have a title and signature cartouche, the fact that only one sheet has the publisher information indicates that it was sold as a set of three. The positioning of the figures, however, leaves some room for preference regarding the order. While the figure in blue seems is most logical on the right, the placement of the other two sheets could be reversed.
Andreas Marks, Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Compendium, 2011, no. 556
Yoshu Chikanobu Memorial Exhibition, Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation, 2012, p. 30, no. 29
Harvard Art Museums, object number 2007.214.116 (central sheet only)
Tokyo Metro LIbrary, object nos. 0732-C004-001, 0732-C004-002, 0732-C004-003 (multiple copies of each sheet)
(inv. no. 10-5327)
An Array of Auspicious Customs of Eastern Japan: Ceremonial Attire
(Azuma fuzoku fukuzukushi: Tairei fuku)
signed Yoshu Chikanobu hitsu at lower right, with publisher's seal of Takekawa Unokichi dated Meiji nijunen (Meiji 22 )
oban tate-e 14 by 9 1/2 in., 35.5 by 24.2 cm
This series presents a collection of words that sound like the word fuku, which has several meanings, including 'auspicious.' In this case, the kanji for tairei fuku (written here in Romanji as TAIREI HUKU) means ceremonial clothing, interestingly represented by both traditional Japanese courtly dress worn by the three ladies and the foreign livery worn by the male figure. The well-appointed Western-style interior features formal décor with a gilt chandelier with glass globes, paneled walls with crown molding, curtained glass windows, and floor inlaid with a geometric pattern.
The gentleman with close-cropped hair and moustache wears white long pants and a tailcoat that is brocaded with the Emperor's paulownia crest, indicative of the livery associated with the Emperor's court. He gestures towards one of the ladies who holds a cockaded hat to complete his ensemble, while another approaches with a European-style saber sword. The lavish brocade on the chest identifies his rank as that of an Imperial appointee (chokuninkan). The details of the uniforms for various rankings at court were established in 1872 in advance of the important Iwakura Mission to Europe and the United States from 1872-1873. Chikanobu may have referred to an earlier photograph for this composition before 1877 when the standard pant color was changed from white to black following the advice of Otto von Bismarck who noted when the mission visited Germany that white pants were customarily only worn on speical occaisons. For example, the attire and appearance of the figure in this print is similar to a photograph of the statesman Okubo Toshimichi (1830-1878) related to his time with the Iwakura Mission.
Bruce A. Coats, Chikanobu_ Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints, Scripps College, 2006, p. 142, pl. 162
Yoshu Chikanobu Memorial Exhibition, Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation, 2012, p. 42, no. 46
Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession no. JP3198
(inv. no. 10-5320)
An Array of Auspicious Customs of Eastern Japan: Seven Garments on a Shrine Visit
(Azuma fuzoku fukuzukushi: Schichi fuku mode)
signed Yoshu Chikanobu hitsu at lower left, with publisher's seal of Takekawa Unokichi dated Meiji nijunen (Meiji 22 )
oban tate-e 14 1/8 by 9 3/8 in., 35.8 by 23.9 cm
This series presents a collection of words that sound like the word fuku, which has several meanings, including 'auspicious.' In this case, the kanji for fuku means clothing, and the kanji for mode means pilgrimage or a shrine visit. Together with the Romanji in the title cartouche: '7 huku Moude' which alludes to the Shichifuku(jin), the Seven Lucky Gods, the print title can be understood as 'seven garments on a pilgrimage' or 'seven garments on a shrine visit.'
In this depiction of an outing at a shrine we see an elegant fashion-forward beauty who has accessorized her traditional kimono and geta with a very Victorian tassled shawl, dark crochet fingerless golves, and a parasol doing double-duty as a walking stick. She is surrounded by six other merry figures, all wearing Japanese clothing but three sporting foreign headware. Together, the seven figures subtly reference the Seven Lucky Gods. From left to right: Daikoku, with his floppy hat, Jurojin, wearing a fez to suggest the diety's elongated head; Fukurokujo, surmounted by a long-handled basket suggesting an even larger head; Ebisu, a prosperous figure wearing a black bowler while carrying a fish banner above his head; Bentan, the only female diety in the group; Hotei, the portly and bald figure representing abudance; and Bishamonten, wearing a woven sports cap with a black visor that alludes to his warrior's helmet.
Edo Tokyo Museum, reference no. 95201545
Honolulu Museum of Art, object no. 24008
(inv. no. 10-5319)
Fireworks in an Evening Cool at Ryogoku
(Ryogoku hanabi no noryo)
signed in the lower left of the left sheet, Toyohara Kunichika hitsu, the publisher's cartouche to the right with Sawamura Seikichi's address and family name, Takegawa Seikichi (the crest associated with the Sawamura family name is found nearby on the back of the male figure having his sake cup refilled) and incomplete date cartouche, Meiji - nen jugatsu - ka (Meiji -?-, October), ca. 1895-96
oban tate-e triptych 14 5/8 by 29 5/8 in., 37 by 75.1 cm
During the hot and humid summer months city dwellers would escape the heat by taking in the evening cool along rivers and waterways, and pleasure boats drifting on the river provided an alternate venue for parties normally hosted at restaurants and teahouses. As early as 1731 , the government began to sponsor an annual presentation of fireworks on the Sumida River at the Ryogoku (Ohashi) Bridge. On evenings when the fireworks were on display, the bridge would fill with spectators and the river would teem with boats jockeying for position for the best view of the show, both in the sky and among the crowds.
Although the date cartouche on this print (and on other impressions) is not completed, based on the signature it was published in circa 1895, quite far into the Meiji era. And yet, here we have a view of a boatload of beauties, literally, taking part in that classic Edoite pleasure of enjoying the evening cool and the fireworks at Ryogoku Bridge (rebuilt in 1875). In the background we can pick out familar landmarks, in addition to Ryogoku bridge to the left, to the right we see the shorter Yanagibashi bridge and the silhouette of upright bamboo at the kiba timber yard. One needs to look into the distance to see the telegraph poles and street lights on the Ryogoku Bridge to ascertain that it is, in fact, a view of Tokyo nearing the turn of the 20th cetury.
Nobutaka Imamura, ed., Ukiyo-e (Kunichika), Kyoto University of Art & Design, March 2018, p. 207, no. 901
(inv. no. 10-5325)
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