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Mythological Creatures

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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Mirror of the Ages: Meiji (1868-1912), 8/5/1897
Ink on Paper
12 3/4 in. x 8 5/16 in. (32.39 cm x 21.11 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: 2003.1.27

Alternate Title: Jidai kagami: Meiji

Fine impression with gauffrage, lacquer and mica on the girl's face.

Signed: “Yoshu Chikanobu” with red toshidama seal

Colored ink woodblock on off-white paper (oban tate-e).

Object Description
Of the 50 prints in the series, 7 depict women of the Meiji Era, although none of them wear Western clothes. This is different from Yoshitoshi's 1888 series "32 Aspects of Daily Life" (Fuzoku sanjuniso) which has 9 women (out of 32) identified with the Meiji Period, and the last one in the set is a well-to-do wife dressed in the latest European fashions. Although Chikanobu had first made his reputation in the 1880's depicting the imperial court ladies and others dressed in French frocks, for this historical survey of Japanese beauties, he preferred to show Meiji women in kimono or traditional festival garb. In this print he depicts a woman, probably an entertainer (geisha), who is dressed for a neighborhood festival procession, since she carries a Buddhist staff and wears items with auspicious symbols.

The upper panel shows flags and banners celebrating the "Promulgation of the Constitution" (Kenpo happu) and a triumphal arch with the sign "Long Live the Imperial Reign" (Hoso banzai).

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

Matsuki Heikichi

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