Tsuitate no Danjo

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Utamaro (c. 1797) Tsuitate no Danjo.jpg

Tsuitate no Danjo (衝立の男女, "Man and Woman by a Partitioning Screen", c.1797) is a title given to a multicolour print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Kitagawa Utamaro. It depicts a young man and woman by a tsuitate partitioning screen. The print delivers the feeling of several layers of translucency as the woman peers through the folded cloth of the man's haori and the man is seen through a silk gauze–covered portion of the tsuitate.

Contents

Background

Ukiyo-e art flourished in Japan during the Edo period from the 17th to 19th centuries, and took as its primary subjects courtesans, kabuki actors, and others associated with the "floating world" lifestyle of the pleasure districts. Alongside paintings, mass-produced woodblock prints were a major form of the genre. [1] In the mid-18th century full-colour nishiki-e prints became common, printed using a large number of woodblocks, one for each colour. [2] A prominent genre was bijin-ga ("pictures of beauties"), which depicted most often courtesans and geisha at leisure, and promoted the entertainments of the pleasure districts. [3]

Kitagawa Utamaro (c.1753–1806) made his name in the 1790s with his bijin ōkubi-e ("large-headed pictures of beautiful women") portraits, focusing on the head and upper torso, a style others had previously employed in portraits of kabuki actors. [4] Utamaro experimented with line, colour, and printing techniques to bring out subtle differences in the features, expressions, and backdrops of subjects from a wide variety of class and background. Utamaro's individuated beauties were in sharp contrast to the stereotyped, idealized images that had been the norm. [5]

Description and analysis

Tsuitate no Danjo is a multicolour nishiki-e print made with ink on handmade washi paper [6] in ōban size, about 39 by 26 centimetres (15 in × 10 in). It was published in c.1797 by Moriya Jihei  [ ja ]. [7] It bears the mark of Moriya's publishing house Kinshindō and the seal Utamaro hitsu (歌麿筆, "the brush of Utamaro"). [6]

A wakashū (adolescent male) and young woman stand by a tsuitate portable partition, of a type covered with silk gauze over an opening in the middle to allow a breeze to pass through in the heat of summer. The woman crouches and peers through a portion of the man's light summer haori . It folds over at the bottom, so that it is less translucent there, and the man's lower body is also seen through the gauze of the tsuitate, so that the print produces multiple levels of the translucent effect. [8] The translucent effect in the prints required the highest level of skill from their carvers. [9]

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References

  1. Fitzhugh 1979, p. 27.
  2. Kobayashi 1997, pp. 80–83.
  3. Harris 2011, p. 60.
  4. Kobayashi 1997, pp. 87–88.
  5. Kobayashi 1997, p. 88.
  6. 1 2 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  7. Ōkubo 2016, p. 53.
  8. Kobayashi 2006, p. 43.
  9. Kobayashi 2006, p. 45.

Works cited

  • Fitzhugh, Elisabeth West (1979). "A Pigment Census of Ukiyo-E Paintings in the Freer Gallery of Art". Ars Orientalis. Freer Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian Institution and Department of the History of Art, University of Michigan. 11: 27–38. JSTOR   4629295.
  • Harris, Frederick (2011). Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN   978-4-8053-1098-4.
  • Kobayashi, Tadashi (1997). Ukiyo-e: An Introduction to Japanese Woodblock Prints. Kodansha International. ISBN   978-4-7700-2182-3.
  • Kobayashi, Tadashi (2006). Utamaro no Bijin歌麿の美人[Utamaro's Beauties] (in Japanese). Shogakukan. ISBN   978-4-09-652105-2.
  • "Couple with a Standing Screen 衝立の男女". Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Archived from the original on 2015-12-30. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  • Ōkubo, Jun'ichi (2016). "Tsuitate no Danjo" 衝立の男女. In Asano, Shūgō (ed.). Utamaro Ketteiban歌麿決定版. Bessatsu Taiyō (in Japanese). Vol. 245. Heibonsha. p. 51. ISBN   9784582922455.