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Parent and Child

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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Stories of Famous Japanese Women: Mother of Zen Master Ikkyu, 1894, no day or month indicated
Ink on Paper
14 3/8 in. x 18 13/16 in. (36.51 cm x 47.78 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: 2004.1.13

Alternate Title: Nihon meijo banashi: Ikkyu zenshi no haha

The color is VERY different in the two panels.

Signed: “Yoshu Chikanobu”

Colored ink woodblock diptych on off-white paper.

Object Description
According to legend, the 16 year old Emperor GoKomatsu (1377-1433) greatly loved a woman whose family had ties to the former Southern Court in Yoshino, so that when she became pregnant, suspicions were raised by other imperial concubine about her true loyalty. Rumors spread that she carried knives in her sleeves, and despite her protestations of love and fidelity to the emperor, she was removed from the palace. Because her child was born outside the palace, his paternity would always be in doubt, but the boy grew up to be the famous Zen master Ikkyu (1394-1481). In Chikanobu's print, the emperor sits in a raised area beyond translucent reed curtains (sudare). Two ladies-in-waiting have lifted a mat (tatami), and discovered a knife, supposedly implicating the pregnant woman in an assassination attempt. The text panel declares her innocence and praises her son.

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

Takegawa Seikichi

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