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Nishiyama Kan'ei, Scenes of Daily Life in Osaka, a handscroll painting


Height: 315.000 mm
Length: 4274.000 mm

Gift of Sir A.W. Franks

Asia JA JP 2644 (1902.6-6.028)

    Nishiyama Kan'ei, Scenes of Daily Life in Osaka, a handscroll painting

    Late Edo period, 19th century AD

    These scenes are taken from a handscroll illustrating the activities of inhabitants of Osaka in the late Edo period (1600-1868). The first scene shows the procession of a high-ranked courtesan and her attendants through the Shimmachi pleasure quarters. The padded skirts of her kimono are relatively thin, as found in the Kyoto-Osaka region; in Edo they were much thicker. Her obi (sash) is tied horizontally and stiffened with card - a style found only in Shimmachi. The crest of a tsuchi (mallet) on her umbrella tells us she belongs to the 'Tsuchiya' house.

    The second scene shows three customers of a tea-house dancing drunkenly on the banks of the River Aji. There were many tea-shops at the mouth of this river, where those on boating trips could break their journey for refreshment. In the distance can be seen the artificial island-park called Mt. Tempō with its lighthouse, built in 1837.

    Kan'ei (1833-97) was the son and pupil of Nishiyama Hōen (1804-67), a distinguished painter of the Shijō school working in Osaka. Kan'ei also lived and worked in Osaka, and served as a Confucian scholar to the Lord of the Akashi fief in Hyōgo. The signature reads 'Kan'ei ustusu' ('Painted by Kan'ei'), and the seals read ‘Kan'ei' and ‘Shiju'.

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