Mattia Jona, Master Drawings and Prints, Japanese Prints - Piazzetta Guastalla 5, 20122 Milan, Italy, tel (+39) 02 8053315

Chikanobu, court ladies playing koto


Colour woodblock prints, Oban triptych, 1897, from the series of triptychs Chiyoda no Oh-oku (The Ladies of Chiyoda Palace). This series depicts the lifestyle of the women of the Shogun's family living in Edo castle before the Meiji Restoration. Signed Yoshu Chikanobu and red seal Yoshu on the right sheet and dated Meiji 29. Very good impression with gauffrage and mineral powders; lightly toned, otherwise in very good condition; overall dimension ca. 350 x 705 mm.

Chikanobu was a student of Toyohara Kunichika. Favorite subjects of Chikanobu were historical and mythological legends and histories from Japan's past and genre scenes with women and children. His best known series are triptychs showing court life in and around the Chiyoda Palace. Like Chikanobu's contemporary, Yoshitoshi, his print themes concentrate on the history and traditional values of old Japan. These series must be seen against the background of an era when Japan was thriving to adopt Western technology and civilization without any criticism.


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