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Kitagawa Utamaro II, Japanese, d. 1831
Scenery of Enoshima, c. 1806-1831
Ink on Paper
9 1/2 in. x 13 7/8 in. (24.13 cm. x 35.24 cm.)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Frederick S. Bailey
Accession Number: 54.1.9


Commentary
Benzaiten, or Benten, is one of Japan‘s many syncretic deities, worshipped as both a kami and a Buddhist deity. The goddess is associated with water and music, culture and entertainment, and is often shown playing a lute – a nod to her origin as the Hindu goddess Sarasvatī, who was absorbed into Buddhism and brought to Japan around the 7th century. Many shrines to Benzaiten are located close to water, most famously Enoshima Shrine off the coast of Kamakura near Tokyo. In this print, an elegant group of entertainers from Edo’s pleasure quarters are heading towards the island shrine to pray to their patron goddess. The crashing waves behind them seem to hint at the powers of the goddess.

- Meher McArthur, January 7, 2021

Marks
On mat, in pencil: Utamaro 9/94 "Enoshima no fukei" Bai III 58. Signed: Utamaro hitsu.

Medium
Colored ink on paper. Oban woodblock print.

Object Description
IEdo period color woodblock print with an image of a group of travellers.

Publisher
Unidentified.

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