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Chiyoda Inner Palace: No. 14 Mountain Village Teahouse

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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Chiyoda Inner Palace: No. 14 Mountain Village Teahouse, 3/1/1896
Ink on Paper
13 15/16 in. x 27 13/16 in. (35.4 cm x 70.64 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: 2003.1.36

Alternate Title: Chiyoda no Ooku: Yamazato no ochaya

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

Fine impressions with gauffrage.

Signed: “Yoshu Chikanobu”

Colored ink woodblock print on off-white paper (oban triptych).

Object Description
Within the Edo Castle inner compound was a garden area that was designed to resemble a quiet mountainous region, with rustic teahouses (ochaya) where the women of the Inner Palace could relax as if in a country village. Two such thatched roof cottages are shown near a simple plank bridge that runs though the garden. Here rural diversions, such a cock-fighting, could amuse the concubine. Like L'Hameau watermill and dairy farm at Versailles, this was an area where the wealthy could pretend to experience the modest pleasures of humble living.

For more information, please refer to the Chikanobu exhibition catalogue.

Fukuda Hatsujiro

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