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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Maker(s):Arita Jirō
Culture:Japanese, active ca. 1883–1884
Title:Brand New Beasts ('Shinpan kemono ga')
Date Made:1884
Materials:polychrome woodblock print
Place Made:Tokyo
Measurements:overall: 13 13/16 in x 8 15/16 in; 35.1 cm x 22.7 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2005.868
Credit Line:Gift of William Green

ōban tate-e; nishiki-e; omocha-e

Label Text:
In this example of an omocha-e, or “toy picture,” which was designed and published by Arita Jirō, animals move and pose in a fantastical and exciting manner. The artist has exaggerated their colors and features. The mountain cat (a kind of leopard from the Japanese island of Iriomote) at upper left, for example, is almost golden in color, its tail enlarged to show its characteristic center stripe, while the elephant is white, an auspicious and sacred Buddhist symbol. The scarcity of intact omocha-e points to the wide influence of woodblock prints in Japanese society. Not precious objects to be preserved, these works were meant to educate and delight young children, who often cut them up for play.
- BB, ed., 2015

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