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Emperor and Empress watch court dancers
Chikanobu, Yoshu
Date Created and/or Issued
Publication Information
Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College
Contributing Institution
Claremont Colleges Library
Chikanobu and Yoshitoshi Woodblock Prints
Rights Information
The contents of this item, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, and non-commercial use only. The contents of this item may not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Scripps College. Any form of image reproduction, transmission, display, or storage in any retrieval system is prohibited without the written consent of Scripps College and other copyright holders. Scripps College retains all rights, including copyright, in data, images, documentation, text and other information contained in these files. For permissions, please contact: Scripps College, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery Attn: Rights and Reproductions, 1030 Columbia Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711
The emperor, empress and five court ladies at right observe a traditional shirabyoshi dancer. While the imperial couple sit in chairs at a table, their attendants kneel on the carpeted verandah. Also on the porch is an enormous flower arrangement in a woven basket on a cart with black lacquered wheels. Within a purple draped dance pavilion set in a garden, a female music ensemble plays (from left to right) a lute (biwa), a reed pipe mouth organ (kan-sho), a horizontal flute (yokofue), a double skin barrel drum (kakko), a double skin framed drum on a stand (tsuridaiko) and a set of bamboo reed pan pipes (sho). The graceful female dancer wears a man's courtier cap (tate-eboshi), red trouser-like divided skirts (hakama), and a long curved sword, and carries a painted fan (kawahori). This type of slow stylized dance dates back to the end of the Heian Period (11th century) and was popular at court and then later incorporated into the noh theater tradition. By depicting the royal couple enjoying this performance, the artist suggests the Meiji Emperor's continuing support for such traditional court dances and music. Among the text panels at far left are the usual cartouches with the publisher's name and address, the designer's name and address and the issue date, but on this print the yellow panel to the right of the sho indicates the shopname of the print dealer, an unusual bit of information.
Men (male humans)
Military uniforms
Drums (membranophones)
Flutes (aerophones)
Fans (costume accessories)
Time Period
Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Woodcuts; Ink on Paper; 14 9/16 in. x 28 3/16 in. (36.99 cm x 71.6 cm); accession number 2003.1.78
Chikanobu and Yoshitoshi Woodblock Prints

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