Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
'Girls Dancing, The Seventh Month'
From the series 'The Five Festivals'
Nishiki-e (brocade print)
Signature: Kôchôrô Kunisada ga
Publisher: Sanoya Kihei
Censorship seal: Kiwame
Museum no. E.5562-1886
In this print Kunisada creates a remarkable feeling of movement through the depiction of a combination of dance poses. The women are shown dancing at the Tanabata Festival. This takes place once a year and celebrates the annual meeting between the two stars, Vergas and Altair.
According to Chinese legend, the two stars were separated by the Milky Way and could only meet once a year on the seventh night of the seventh lunar month. In modern Japan the festival is still held, the cities of Sendai and Hiratsuka being particularly well-known for their elaborate celebrations.
Kunisada was one of the major artists producing bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) and other images of women during the 1820s and 1830s. His work is slightly less stylised and more humanised than that of his contemporaries.
This print can be found in Prints and Drawings Study Room box TOPIC JP2.