Comparison of Famous Sites and Beautiful Women: Itsukushima, Aki Province, February 10,1898
Ink on paper
14 1/4 in. x 18 3/4 in. (36.2 cm x 47.63 cm)
Signed Yoshu Chikanobu.
Colored ink woodblock print; oban diptych.
Dressed in a lavender kosode (short-sleeved robe) with beach motifs of shells, starfish, sea urchins and chidori (plovers), this woman seems to glance over her shoulder at the sacred island of Itsukushima. The site was particulary prominent in the 12th century when it was patronized by the Taira clan. The rendering of the shrine buildings is so schematic, though, that it suggests Chikanobu copied the architecture from a guidebook to the island rather than from seeing the Shinto shrine himself. However, the beauty of the scene lies in the carefully layered colors of blue that give a mysterious quality to this abode of the gods. The foreground figures in this series are outlined with black ink lines overlaid with pale pink color which blurs the features and softens the contours. In most cases, the large figures appear to be aware of the landscape behind them, when in actuality they are 'standing' on non-existent promontories. This woman would need to be on the mast of a ship on the Inland Sea to get this view.
Purchased by Prof. Bruce Coats in Japan from Yamada Shoten.
Meiji 31/1898/2 month/10 day
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