Sode ga ura, the Bay of Sleeves, part of triptychArtist(s)Utagawa Toyokuni IArtist NationalityJapanese (culture or style)Object Creation Dateearly 1790s - mid 1790sMedium & SupportLarge full-color woodblock print (ôban nishiki e), triptychDimensions
14 in. x 9 3/4 in. ( 35.56 cm x 24.77 cm )Credit LineBequest of Margaret Watson ParkerLabel copy
An important innovation in print designs of the 1780s had been Torii Kiyonaga’s introduction of outdoor settings for his “beautiful women.” Here Toyokuni is once again working in Kiyonaga’s mode; the difference with Kiyonaga’s Takanawa print of a decade earlier (also on view in the gallery) shows how much Edo print artists had learned about representing three-dimensional space in the interim. The new sophistication may be attributed in part to the influence of European prints, filtered through many intermediaries.
The seaside was the outdoor summer playground of Edo: there were dozens of public beaches within a half-day’s walk of the city. Then as now, vendors set up wood-and-bamboo stalls to hawk savories such as roasted squid, or sweets made from red bean paste. In this panoramic view of Sode ga ura (the “Bay of Sleeves,” an inlet of Tokyo Bay), the foreground is filled with well-attired tourists, returning from a day at the shore. They carry a full array of seasonal paraphernalia: a sun parasol, fans, and toys as souvenirs for the children.
Maribeth Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art
"Courtesans, Cross-Dressers and the Girl Next Door: Images of the Feminine in Japanese Popular Prints"
March 9 - September 1, 2002Primary Object Classification Print Primary Object Typecolor printCollection AreaAsianRights
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