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Between and Mortarboard


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Young Woman Lacing a Hawking Gauntlet

Accession Number
1948/1.158

Title
Young Woman Lacing a Hawking Gauntlet

Artist(s)
Suzuki Harunobu

Object Creation Date
1765-1770

Medium & Support
Pillar-format full color woodblock print (hashira e nishiki e)

Dimensions
26 7/16 in. x 4 7/8 in. ( 67.2 cm x 12.4 cm )

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy
Harunobu was a master of the "pillar print," a tall and narrow format that first appeared in the late 1760s to decorate the slender wooden pillars of the typical residential interior. Here he fills the lower half of the frame with a single female figure, engaged enigmatically in the act of lacing a hawking gauntlet to her forearm. (In Japan, hawking was a sport for males of the warrior class, not a game for pampered daughters of urban merchants. This intent young girl is thus crossing lines of both gender and class.) Though the colors have faded, we can still appreciate innovative touches like the way the wood grain of the block is used as part of a textile pattern.
Cross-dressing or gender-bending behavior in Harunobu’s prints is usually the sign of a mitate, a clever allusion to a classical story. Part of the pleasure for contemporary viewers was to decipher the visual pun. Unfortunately, these layers of meaning are often lost to us today.
M. Graybill
"Courtesans, Cross-Dressers, and the Girl Next Door Images of the Feminine in Japanese Popular Prints"
3/9 - 9/1/02

Primary Object Classification
Print

Primary Object Type
color print

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
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Keywords
ukiyo e

2 Related Resources

Girlhood
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

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