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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Depiction of Lady Tokiwa and Children Walking in the Snow, 1898, no month or day indicated
Ink on Paper
14 1/4 x 27 5/8 in. (36 x 70 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: 2005.1.62

Alternate Title: Tokiwa sekko no zu

Signed: “Yoshu Chikanobu” with red toshidama seal

Object Description
Tokiwa gozen had to flee Kyoto in the dead of winter after her husband Minamoto no Yoshitomo (1123-60) was murdered and their home pillaged. (See Plate 55) Here she clasps to her chest their youngest son Ushiwaka, wrapped in orange brocade; he will grow up to be the brilliant warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-89). Shivering next to her is Otowaka, who will become the monk Gien, and following is Imawaka, later known as the monk Zenjo. The poses of the two older boys are similar to those found in the 1884 "Snow, Moon, Flowers" series, although Otowaka face seems more fearful, and both are shown barefoot, the outlines of their feet disappearing into the snow. In a sense, Chikanobu is revising his earlier image in the larger format, making the weather seem colder and the landscape bleaker. Here, the night sky has been delicately shaded and then splattered with thick white paint to suggest falling snow. A brisk wind in the 1884 has been replaced by a frigid silence. The dull russet of the tree trunks and gray-green of the bamboo and pine are unusual colors for nishiki-e and more typical of Shijo-style bird and flower prints. For more information, please refer to the Chikanobu exhibition catalogue.

Higuchi Gintaro

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