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Chiyoda Inner Palace: No. 11 Night Cherry Blossom Viewing in the Garden

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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Chiyoda Inner Palace: No. 11 Night Cherry Blossom Viewing in the Garden, 02/10/1896
Ink on Paper
13 7/8 in. x 28 1/16 in. (35.3 cm x 71.3 cm)

Object Type: print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2003.1.11

Alternate Title: Chiyoda no Ooku: Oniwa no yozakura

Yoshu Chikanobu's "Chiyoda Inner Palace" series of woodblock printed triptychs was first published from 1895-1897. It depicts the lives of women in Edo Castle before the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when the palace was home to the shogun and his court. Edo Castle was also known as Chiyoda Castle, and the Inner Palace area housed the shogun's wife and unmarried daughters, his male heir, and many ladies-in-waiting and servants. After 1868, the shogun's family were forced out of the palace and it became the Imperial Palace. This series of 40 scenes illustrate seasonal activities, ceremonies, rituals, and pastimes both inside and outside of the women's private quarters.

Meher McArthur, Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Curator of Academic Programs and Collections

Signed: “Yoshu Chikanobu”

Colored ink woodblock print on paper; triptych.

Object Description
Moonlight gives a soft pink glow to the cherry blossoms and falling petals. The woman at center carries a woven bamboo lantern that also shines up into the tree limbs. The breeze that caused a cascade of petals has also touched her sleeves to sway, and she turns as if distracted by some sound in the far part of the garden. But the two women on the porch seem unconcerned with blossoms or moonlight as they talk and take a rest from the events inside the hall, where a silhouetted figure pours tea. The long bank of glowing paper shoji screens creates a somewhat anonymous and oppressive setting for this scene, giving the vision of falling cherry blossoms a sad quality.

For more information, please refer to the Chikanobu exhibition catalogue

Fukuda Hatsujiro

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