Monkey Dance Under White Plum Blossoms (pair with Lion Dance, 1987/1.363.1)Artist(s)JapaneseArtist NationalityJapanese (culture or style)Object Creation Date1730s - 1740sMedium & Supportone of pair of 6-fold screens ink, color, and gold pigment on paperDimensions
26 in x 87 in (66.04 cm x 221 cm)Credit LineMuseum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection FundLabel copy
Lion Dance under Cherry Blossoms (LEFT)
Monkey Dance under White Plum Blossoms (RIGHT)
Edo period (1615–1868)
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.
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 lion dance.Primary Object Classification Painting Primary Object TypescreenCollection AreaAsianRights
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