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Yoshu Chikanobu (aka Chikanobu), Japanese, (1838–1912)
Praise for Multi-colored Blossoms: No. 19 Kocho (Kadoebi-ro) & Yoshi (Nakanocho), 03/03/1884
Ink on Paper
13 in. x 8 9/16 in. (33.02 cm x 21.75 cm)


Object Type: print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2004.1.54


Marks
Signed: “Yoshu Chikanobu hitsu” with red toshidama seal

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

Object Description
Holding a Kyoto style doll, Otefu of the Kadoebi-ro stands near a display platform where lacquered stands and covered bowls suggest a Girls' Day display. The publication date of the 3rd day of the 3rd month (Girls' Day) of 1884 reinforces this reference to the annual spring festival when various dolls are honored with food and drink. Yoshi of the Nakanocho holds a Western style footed wine glass, while in front of her are various treats and wine on the lacquered trays. Outside an arched wooden bridge leads to a two-story pavilion that stands above the pond.

The upper left panel has two poems next to a box marked "Kyoto doll" (kyo ningyo) and various carpenter tools (including an awe, saw, plane, chisel, pick-hammer, square, and ink line with brush). The tools may refer to the famous left-handed carpenter and sculptor Hidari Jingoro (1594-1651), who is thought to have created a doll which came alive; this story recently had been performed on the kabuki stage with Nakamura Shikan IV as Jingoro. An Oyama ningyo is a term used to describe female looking dolls that actually represent male actors in women's roles (onnagata).

The first poem is a ditty:
"Yonde Oyama/ uramu ja nai ga/ hidari-kiki da to/ iu uwasu"
"Reading his heart, Oyama doesn't grieve but rumour has it that he's left-handed."
by Oyagawa Kyoshi

The comic verse, which seems to urge the courtesans to master their trade, reads:
"Masse made/ bijutsu takumi no/ meiyo wo e"
"Even in these degenerate times, artistic skill earns praise."
by Kaiya

Publisher
Kobayashi Testujiro

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