Recovering a Shuttlecock: A New Year's SceneArtist(s)Utagawa Toyokuni IArtist NationalityJapanese (culture or style)Object Creation Datemid 1780Medium & Supportpillar-format full-color woodblock print (nishiki e) on paper, pillar-format (hashira e)Dimensions
26 7/16 in. x 4 1/2 in. ( 67.2 cm x 11.4 cm )Credit LineBequest of Margaret Watson ParkerLabel copy
The pillar print format challenged artists to make effective use of its long and narrow shape. Toyokuni solves the problem by cleverly contriving a situation that allows him to stack figures vertically: a young man hoists a girl into air, so that she can retrieve a shuttlecock that has stuck in the branches of a pine tree. Battledore and Shuttlecock is a New Year’s game, and Toyokuni makes this print especially auspicious by including the "three friends of winter"—pine, bamboo, and, in the kimono patterns, blossoming plum. This favorite trio of plants combines the symbols for longevity, prudence, and resilience.
If pillar prints survive at all, they are normally in very poor condition, with the paper burned to a dark brown and the colors faded, from long exposure to light and air. The condition of this print is surprisingly good; despite considerable darkening of the paper, the blue and purple dyes of the man’s kimono are still quite evident.
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3/9 - 9/1/02Primary Object Classification Print Primary Object Typecolor printCollection AreaAsianRights
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