Young Woman Lacing a Hawking GauntletArtist(s)Suzuki HarunobuObject Creation Date1765-1770Medium & SupportPillar-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 LineBequest of Margaret Watson ParkerLabel 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.
"Courtesans, Cross-Dressers, and the Girl Next Door Images of the Feminine in Japanese Popular Prints"
3/9 - 9/1/02Primary Object Classification Print Primary Object Typecolor printCollection AreaAsianRights
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