Torii Kiyonaga, A girl dancing with shell clappers under her feet, a woodblock print

Published in Japan
Edo period, around AD 1784

From the series 'A Fashionable Presentation of Three Young Ponies' (Fūryū mitsu no koma)

It is the little girl who steals the show in this intricately designed print by Torii Kiyonaga (1752-1815). She is dressed in an exquisite kimono decorated with the lucky treasure pattern and she dances on half clam-shell 'hooves', fixed to her feet with silk cords which she pulls taught. Her kimono whirls and her hair flies out with the movement. Four women look on in kindly admiration. One provides music for the dance on her shamisen. They exchange amused glances, the central spectator seeming to raise her sleeve to her mouth to hide an indulgent smile. Accesories for the Lion Dance (shakkyō) hang in the top right corner.

In the mid-1780s, Kiyonaga's figures reached the height of slender elegance, emphasized here by the long flowing lines of the impossibly long kimono sleeves. The apparently autumnal colour-scheme, however, is deceptive, since the tan-coloured kimono of the tallest woman has faded from its original bright purple.

Another print in this series shows a small boy riding a hobby-horse, hence the title of the series, 'A Fashionable Presentation of Three Young Ponies'. The third design of the set is not known.

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Torii Kiyonaga, A girl dancing with shell clappers under her feet, a woodblock print

Torii Kiyonaga, A girl dancing with shell clappers under her feet, a colour woodblock print

 

More information

Bibliography

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

Narazaki Muneshige, and Yamaguchi Keisaburo (eds.), Ukiyo-e shūka, vol. 2 (Tokyo, shu eisha, 1979)

Dimensions

Height: 382.000 mm
Width: 248.000 mm

Museum number

Asia JA 1924.3-11.01

JCF5807

Location

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