Miyagawa Chōshun, Pastimes of the new year and flower viewing, a pair of handscroll paintings

Japan
Edo period, about AD 1724-44

Popular Amusements in Edo

Although most Ukiyo-e artists concentrated on the theatre and pleasure quarters as their subjects, there was still a vogue for pictures of seasonal or monthly events and pastimes around the city of Edo. The first of this pair of hand scrolls shows both indoor and outdoor games and pastimes for the New Year, such as battledore and shuttlecock, bouncing ball, backgammon, cards and painting. In the second scroll, groups of revellers celebrate the spring by dancing, eating and drinking beneath the flowering cherry trees. Chōshun, like many Ukiyo-e artists had a keen eye for striking combinations of colour and pattern in the textiles of the kimonos, and the figures are drawn with a fine clarity of detail.

Miyagawa Chōshun (?1682-1752) was one of the major Ukiyo-e artists of the first half of the eighteenth century. Unusually for an Ukiyo-e artist, he produced only paintings, and not woodblock prints as well. He was strongly influenced by the example of the earlier master Hishikawa Moronobu (died 1694), especially in his choice of subject matter and formats. Indeed, in some of his paintings Chōshun seems to copy some of Moronobu's groups of figures almost exactly.

The signature reads 'Nihon-e Miyagawa Chōshun zu' ('Japanese picture drawn by Miyagawa Chōshun'). The seal reads 'Chōshun no in'.

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More information

Bibliography

I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-1, vol. 2 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)

T. Clark, Ukiyo-e paintings in the Briti (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

M. Narasaki (ed.), Hizō Ukiyo-e taikan, vol. 1 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1987)

L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

Dimensions

Height: 401.000 mm (each approx.)
Length: 5100.000 mm (each approx.)

Museum number

Asia JA JP 1390 (1881.12-10.1707);Asia JA JP 1391 (1881.12-10.1708)

JCF1416

William Anderson Collection

Location

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