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14 hours ago

Utagawa Kuniyoshi: Shakku, 1860⁣ ⁣ This print depicts the tale of Ômori Hikoshichi, a samurai hero from the 14th century. During his journeys, Hikoshichi is said to have encountered a beautiful woman who persuaded him to carry her across a nearby river on his back. Hikoshichi, however, caught a glimpse of the woman’s reflection in the river which revealed her true nature, a hannya demon (a female jealousy demon). ⁣ ⁣ Kuniyoshi’s design depicts the intense moment when Hikoshichi spots the woman’s demonic reflection in the river, just before he draws his sword to strike. The same scene was depicted by Utagawa Kunisada in his design ‘Ômori Hikoshichi’ and later by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi in his design ‘Picture of Omori Hikoshichi Encountering a Demon’ from the series ‘New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts’ as well as in the dramatic diptych ‘The Demon Omatsu Kills Shirosaburō in the Ford’ from the series ‘A New Selection of Eastern Brocade Pictures.’⁣

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1 day ago

Yoshida Hiroshi, Arashiyama, 1935

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Yoshida Hiroshi, A Glimpse of Ueno Park, 1937

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Yoshida Hiroshi: Shinobazu Pond, 1928

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6 days ago

Utagawa Kunisada: Actor Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII as Naofuku Maki Takarago, 1852

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Utagawa Kunisada: Memorial Portrait of Utagawa Hiroshige, 1858

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Utagawa Kunisada: Wrestlers Kurokumo Ryūgorō and Kumoodake Kiriemon, c. 1844

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Kagaku Murakami: Nude (color on silk), 1920⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ “The painting entitled ‘Nude’ depicts a woman seated on a wall of fitted stones overgrown with vines. The setting suggests an ancient temple ground, yet the woman, dressed as she is in a loose skirt, diaphanous scarves and elaborate jewelry, seems an unnatural addition to such abandoned surroundings…”⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ “The identity of the central figure in ‘Nude’ has intrigued critics and historians of modern Japanese art since the painting’s debut[…] and several theories for her identity and origin have been suggested, such as Kagaku having based the painting on sketches of his own wife, or on figures represented in the Ajanta cave murals, or even on Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.”⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣ According to Ono Chikkyō (Japanese painter and Kagaku’s contemporary), 'Nude' was something akin to the allegorical paintings of the Western Renaissance, insofar as it was not intended as a portrait of any specific woman. Rather it was a representation of a concept, ‘an image we might find in an antique Indian or Italian painting, combined with something Kagaku might have encountered in his dreams.’”⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ John Szostak: Painting Circles - Tsuchida Bakusen and Nihonga Collectives in Early Twentieth Century Japan, 2017

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Tsuchida Bakusen: Maiko in a Garden (color on silk), 1924

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Uemura Shōen: Jo-no-Mai / Noh Dance Prelude (Color on silk), 1936

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Kobayashi Kiyochika: View of Takinogawa,1878

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2 weeks ago

Katsushika Hokusai: The Suspension Bridge on the Border of Hida and Etchū Provinces, c. 1834

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Kajita Hanko: White Chrysanthemums, 1902⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣-⁣ ⁣ My eyes, having seen all,⁣⁣⁣ Came back to⁣⁣⁣ The white chrysanthemums⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Poem by Isshō⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ -

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Kanō Hōgai: Hibo Kannon (Kannon as Compassionate Mother), 1888⁣ ⁣ "In his later works, Hōgai combined aspects of Western shading and modeling with the painting style of the Kanō School, producing Buddhist images of solidity and tension, rendered in brilliant colors."⁣ ⁣ "...In this painting, Hōgai combined traditional iconography with aspects of Western Christian religious painting, and used bright colors and chiaroscuro for depth and modeling of forms."⁣ ⁣ Tsuneko S. Sadao & Stephanie Wada: Discovering the arts of Japan, pp. 254-55

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Kanō Hōgai: Niō Seizing a Demon, 1886

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Kanō Hōgai: Arhat (holy man) Subjugating a Dragon, 1885

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2 weeks ago

Utagawa Hiroshige: Plum Park in Kameido, 1857⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ “This close-up of the trunk of a plum tree with its bizarrely shaped branches and roundish white blossoms marks one of the most famous prints in the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo series. The printer achieved a three-dimensionality with the grey gradation of the trunk that could not have been surpassed by a painter.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ This strangely shaped tree was called Garyūbai (‘Sleeping Dragon’) and was mentioned in all guide books of Edo. In the top left-hand corner of the print is the back of the sign that bears the name of this famous tree. Through the branches we see numerous plum trees in blossom and, behind a fence, strolling visitors admiring them.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ The Plum Park in Kameido is located in the north-east of the city, behind the Kameido Tenjinsha Shrine. Both in colour and theme, the motif of this picture is closely related to the print designed nine months earlier, ‘Plum Orchard in Kamada’. There, too, a red bokashi (color gradation) covers almost the entire top half of the picture, highlighting the glowing white blossoms. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ In a number of his compositions after the fifth month of 1856, Hiroshige employed a ‘repoussoir’ – an object placed in the foreground that helps to push the background motifs farther into the distance and so lends greater depth to the pictorial space. While this device seems sometimes contrived, it was very popular at the time.”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Melanie Trede & Lorenz Bichler: Hiroshige, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, p. 216⁣⁣⁣

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Utagawa Hiroshige: Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival, 1857⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ “In the distance, Mount Fuji, reduced to a stylized outline, appears small in the red glow of sunset. Its regular conical shape is framed symmetrically by two of the vertical laths of a wooden framework that takes up almost the whole height of the print.”⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ “The wooden bars, visible because the shōji doors have been slid to the sides, are the clue that we are in a teahouse in Yoshiwara (a famous red-light district in Edo). The prostitutes were not allowed to leave the quarter, and frequently not even the teahouse in which they worked.”⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ “The white cat looking through the bars into the open air is raised three-dimensionally from the surface of the print using the kimedashi printing technique (a type of embossing created by pushing the paper into the carved spaces of the block). The cat represents the courtesan who has just finished her work.”⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ “A client has just left the room: this is shown not only by the bowl of water which has just been used, and the towel that has been left casually lying on the ledge, but also by the onkotogami, the ‘paper towels for the honorable act’, which are peeking out on the left, largely concealed by the back of a folding screen.”⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ “In front of the paper towels lies a gift brought by the client: so-called bear’s-paw hairpins (kumate kanzashi) wrapped in paper. This motif links the interior with the Torinomachi Festival of the title, taking place outside in the fields.”⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ “It is early evening on the ‘Day of the Cockerel’ in the eleventh month, and in the background the festival procession can just be seen making its way to Chōkokuji Temple. The pilgrims are holding up rakes in the form of bears' paws.”⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ “Since the 12th century, rakes like these had served as weapons to seize enemies in war. Here they have become a symbol of good luck: with their aid, company employees were supposed to be successful in attracting customers.”⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ Melanie Trede & Lorenz Bichler: Hiroshige, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, p. 500⁣⁣⁣⁣

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