Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Fan Vendor

Artist:
Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, ca. 1754–1806)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
1790s
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
H. 14 7/8 in. (37.8 cm); W. 9 7/8 in. (25.1 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Gift of Estate of Samuel Isham, 1914
Accession Number:
JP983
Not on view
Fan vendors in Edo were reputedly fashionable, handsome boys who attracted girls' attention. This seems to be the case here, where the vendor is showing a fan painted with the face of the Zen master Daruma to a beautiful young woman. Utamaro, however, has depicted the painting on the fan with such vigor that the Daruma seems as animated as the figures in this scene. With his finger in his mouth in a traditional gesture of envy, he appears to be beside himself with jealousy over the flirting young couple. The picture within the picture of the venerable first patriarch of Zen Buddhism caught in a humorous foible adds to the light-hearted eroticism of the scene.
Signature: Utamaro hitsu
Nagoya City Museum. "Ukiyo-e from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 14, 1995–May 28, 1995.

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