Surimono for a Joruri Performance

This picture illustrates a group gathering around a fishmonger who prepares fresh fish for sashimi. To the left, a lower class prostitute offers a large dish to receive some fish, perhaps for the man at the left, who looks longingly at the elegant, graceful courtesan who glances demurely over her shoulder as she holds a parasol. The “night hawk” overhead proclaims the erotic theme of this scene. This large sheet is printed with an illustration on one half and an illustration in 180 degree reverse orientation on the other half. The sheet was designed to be folded horizontally so the picture would be on one side and the inscription could be read on the other. The text provides the names of many groups from various locales, which suggests that this surimono was commissioned to commemorate a special performance.

Maker(s)
Artist: Utagawa Kuninao 歌川国直 (1793-1854)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1820
Medium
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (sheet and image): 39.3 x 53.5 cm (15 1/2 x 21 1/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Gift of John Fuegi and Jo Francis
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F2002.14
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

Keywords
courtesan, Edo period (1615 - 1868), fish, Japan, man, surimono, umbrella, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 2002
Dr. John Fuegi, Copenhagen and Adelphi, MD, to 2002

From 2002
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Dr. John Fuegi in 2002

Previous Owner(s)

Dr. John Fuegi

Description

This picture illustrates a group gathering around a fishmonger who prepares fresh fish for sashimi. To the left, a lower class prostitute offers a large dish to receive some fish, perhaps for the man at the left, who looks longingly at the elegant, graceful courtesan who glances demurely over her shoulder as she holds a parasol. The "night hawk" overhead proclaims the erotic theme of this scene. This large sheet is printed with an illustration on one half and an illustration in 180 degree reverse orientation on the other half. The sheet was designed to be folded horizontally so the picture would be on one side and the inscription could be read on the other. The text provides the names of many groups from various locales, which suggests that this surimono was commissioned to commemorate a special performance.

Inscription(s)

The inscription concludes with the phrase, "Senshu banzai" (A thousand autumns), a wish for eternal happiness, and provides the name of a pupil of the joruri performer Takemoto Miyadodayu who sponsored the event.

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