Puppeteer and shamisen player

Artist: Tsukioka Settei 月岡雪鼎 (1710-1786)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1772
Ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W (image): 93 x 34.8 cm (36 5/8 x 13 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Elizabeth Gordon Norcross
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, music, playing, puppetry, shamisen, woman, WWII-era provenance

To 1986
Mrs. Elizabeth Gordon Norcross, Adamstown, MD [1]

From 1986
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Gordon Norcross, Adamstown, MD [2]


[1] The hanging scroll was a gift from Mrs. Elizabeth Gordon Norcross on June 1986. It was transferred from the Freer Study Collection to the Freer Gallery of Art permanent collection on December 1987. See object file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Mrs. Elizabeth Gordon Norcross


Puppet performances in public and private settings were popular during the Edo period (1615-1868). Here, a woman plays the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument, while the woman facing her holds a puppet aloft. With a hand drum at its hip, the puppet joins the shamisen player in performance. The puppeteer's artistry at manipulating the mechanical doll creates an amusing duet of human and puppet performers.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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