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Shishimai (Lion Dance) Under Red Plum Blossoms (Pair with Monkey Dance, #1987/1.263.2)

Accession Number
1987/1.363.1

Title
Shishimai (Lion Dance) Under Red Plum Blossoms (Pair with Monkey Dance, #1987/1.263.2)

Artist(s)
Japanese

Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
late 1730s - early 1740s

Medium & Support
one of a pair of 6-fold screens, ink, color, and gold pigment on paper

Dimensions
26 in x 87 in (66.04 cm x 221 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy

Lion Dance under Cherry Blossoms (LEFT)
Monkey Dance under White Plum Blossoms (RIGHT)
Japan
Edo period (1615–1868)

1730s–40s
Pair of six-panel folding screens, ink, color, and gold pigment on paper Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund, 1987/1.363.1–2

In these screens, an unknown artist has captured the essential details of folk dance performances as they likely occurred on the streets of Kyoto in the eighteenth century. In one, a monkey and his handlers give a private performance for a young samurai (a member of the ruling military class) and his retainers. Monkey dances were associated with New Year’s festivities and in samurai households they were commissioned to protect horses.

In the other screen, the lion dance—which has ancient origins in central Asia and was associated with religious festivals—is performed. The lion’s movements were thought to drive away evil spirits. Dancers would accompany shrine processions or go house to house to offer their protection. Over the course of the Edo period, this form of entertainment became more secularized. In both screens, touches of gold pigment in the garments suggest the relative wealth and status of the characters.



Subject matter
Street performance has a long and rich history in Japan. Monkey dances were associated with New Year’s festivities and in samurai households they were commissioned as rituals to protect horses from harm. Over the course of the Edo period, this form of entertainment became more secularized as itinerant performers plied their trade.

Physical Description
6-fold screen decorated with ink, color and gold pigment on paper. This screen is a part of a pair. It's partner depicts a monkey dance.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
screen

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
dance (discipline)
dancers
groups of people
landscapes (environments)

3 Related Resources

Dance
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

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