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Maker(s):Yōshū Chikanobu; Takekawa Unokichi, publisher
Culture:Japanese (1838–1912); Japanese (active ca. 1878–1891)
Title:A Monkey Performance in the Inner Court ('Oku oden saruhiki no zu')
Date Made:1889
Materials:polychrome woodblock print
Place Made:Tokyo
Measurements:overall: 13 15/16 in x 9 1/4 in; 35.4 cm x 23.5 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2005.232.a-c
Credit Line:Gift of William Green
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

nishiki-e; ōban tate-e triptych, textured paper

Label Text:
This ōban (“large sheet”) triptych depicts a monkey-trainer performance in the court of the prince regent Yoshihito. On the left, a monkey trainer and musicians guide the show, while the prince and a number of women and children in fanciful court attire look on in fascination. In the center, the monkey, dressed in the garb of a traveling samurai with two tiny swords and a straw hat, performs a dance. As a print designer of the Meiji Era, a period of rapid modernization and change in Japan, Chikanobu produced images noteworthy for their historical nostalgia. The fashions shown in this print are, in fact, somewhat out of date, and more characteristic of Edo period styles, before the introduction of Western clothing. His liberal use of bright, imported synthetic dyes and experimentation with single-point perspective, however, are a sign of the times. – 2015

art; woodcut; color theory; courtesans; figures; women; men; interiors; musical instruments; narrative; symbolism

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