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Watanabe Nangaku, Beauty and Attendant, a hanging scroll painting


Height: 1111.000 mm
Width: 428.000 mm

Gift of Dr and Mrs Michael Harari

Asia JA JP ADD695 (1982.7-1.010)

    Watanabe Nangaku, Beauty and Attendant, a hanging scroll painting

    Edo period, late 18th century AD

    The principal figure is a young woman of a good family; she still wears the long-sleeved kimono of an unmarried woman, here with a pattern of scattered orchids around the base. Her attendant wears a simpler kimono, with vertical stripes, and an obi (sash) with a yabure-shokkō, a fragmented Chinese geometric design. The young woman's headcloth suggests that she is outside. Furthermore, the fact that she is holding up the ends of her sleeves, and the manner in which her companion's sash is secured at the front, tells us they are out for a walk.

    Nangaku (1767-1813) is sometimes listed as one of the ten best pupils of Maruyama ōkyo (1733-95), and he carried ōkyo's new style to Edo when he taught there, perhaps from about 1804 to 1806. Having established his own style, he excelled in bijinga (pictures of beautiful women), specifically Japanese, rather than Chinese, and of carp.

    The signature reads 'Nangaku', and the seals read 'Gen no in' ('Seal of Gen') and ‘Iseki'.

    I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)


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