Customs of the Twelve Months with Kyoka: Fourth Month
signed Utamaro ga with kao seal in shape of a Daruma doll ('Uta' in a circle, 'maru'), and Waka publisher seal (Wakasaya Yoichi of Jakurindo), ca. 1790-91
chuban tate-e 9 1/2 by 6 3/4 in., 24.2 by 17.2 cm
From an untitled series depicting scenes from festivities throughout the year. On the 8th day of the 4th month the Buddha's birthday is celebrated with the ceremony of Kanbutsu-e (washing the Buddha statue). Here a man has brought a woman holding a baby a small model of a temple of a type presented during the ceremony. The model shelters an image of the Buddha (Shaka) as an infant pointing up to Heaven with one hand and down to earth with the other while the baby mimics the gestures. Hence the kyoka poem by Yukari no Satozumi:
Pointed to by Shaka
On his birthday
Did it call in the heavens?
Did it come out of the ground?
Shugo Asano and Timothy Clark, The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro, 1995, no. 90, text, p. 113
Gina Collia-Suzuki, The Complete Woodblock Prints of Kitagawa Utamaro, A Descriptive Catalogue, 2009, p. 296
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site last updated
March 5, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
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