'Cockerel, Hen and Basket'

'Cockerel, Hen and Basket'

'Cockerel, Hen and Basket'
Woodblock print
Utagawa Hiroshige
Japan
About 1840-1842
Museum no. E.4834-1919
Webb Bequest

This uchiwa-e, or rigid fan print, designed by Hiroshige is one of an untitled series of four in the collection of the V&A. The ribmarks visible on its surface are evidence that it was salvaged from a made-up fan. The significance of chickens was talismanic in that their cries were believed to bring protection against the evil forces of darkness. The pink body and black breast and tail feathers of this particular cockerel are typical of the 'jidori', a primitive breed of chicken indigenous to Japan.