Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Two Women with a Baby who is Playing on the Floor

Artist:
Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, 1753?–1806)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
ca. 1793
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
20 3/4 x 7 5/8 in. (52.7 x 19.4 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
JP1674
Not on view
Two women are playing with a baby. The mother, whose exposed breasts are accented with pink, gazes down at her son; meanwhile, he looks up her kimono. Through the diaphanous material we see both the child's head and the mother's leg. Utamaro accommodated the vertical format of the print by cropping the image at each side.

Here, as in many other prints in this exhibition, the artist covers the woman's legs but emphasizes her naked breasts. "With their obvious sexuality designed to feed erotic fantasies, these images may have served as a substitute for shunga, or explicitly erotic prints, whose publication was illegal.
Signature: Utamaro hitsu
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