Ueugi Kenshin Listening to a Biwa Player
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Ueugi Kenshin Listening to a Biwa Player, 1887
Ink on Paper
14 3/16 in. x 28 5/16 in. (360.36 mm x 719.14 mm)
Triptych; 3 panels not cojoined.
Yoshitoshi was active during a period when Westernization had already taken hold in Japan, and he became concerned with the loss of aspects of Japanese art and culture. He was dedicated to keeping the technique of ukiyo-e woodblock print production alive, and many of his prints depict things like historical figures and elements from classical literature. This image depicts samurai (replaced in the 1880s with a western style conscription military) and specifically Uesugi Kenshin, who was a famous samurai remembered for his military expertise and as a daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) who greatly improved the lives of his people. The samurai in this image are gathered in leisure listening to music played on the biwa, a stringed instrument. This print depicts samurai and traditional Japanese music in a very aesthetically beautiful and noble way, through their posture, respect for the musician, wealth shown through fine clothing and decoration, and a cool complementary color scheme. Male leisure is also associated with some of our concepts of masculinity—strength and stoicism, also expressed through posture, facial expression, and facial features.
Chloe Elliott (student, 2016)
On mat, in pencil: Marer 441, Yoshitoshi. Text box with Japanese text printed on the upper edge of the left panel. Signed: Yoshitoshi ga. Artist's seal: Taiso.
Colored ink woodblock on paper; oban; triptych.
Meiji period Japanese color woodblock print with an image of a group scene, with a man in the center of the group playing a Biwa. Triptych.
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