Takarabune (The Pleasure Boat)

Maker(s): Chobunsai Eishi (Hosoda)
Culture: Japanese (1756-1829)
Title: Takarabune [The Pleasure Boat] (Women in a Phoenix Boat at New Year)
Date Made: about 1793 (Kansei 5)
Type: Print
Materials: Woodblock print (woodcut); Nishiki-e, Ink and color on paper
Place Made: Asia; Japan
Measurements: Sheet/Image: 15 7/16 in x 10 1/2 in; 39.2 cm x 26.7 cm
Accession Number: MH 1973.231-233.Q.RII
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Louis C. Black

Within the mode of ukiyo-e printing there are many ways an artist can create the design that they desire, as demonstrated here, the triptych was one such mode. Triptychs were popular because they allowed for the artist to create larger scenes and each piece of the series could be released separately or together, which enhanced profitability. Compositionally this series of prints increases in complexity from left to right as more figures are added in each frame,this correlates with the increasing about of space inside of the boat. Signs that it is in fact a celebration of the New Year can be seen in the left and central panel. In the left hand panel, the woman in the black kimono is holding a set of bow and arrows, which are typically purchased or received at a shrine during the New Year to ward off evil spirits. In the central panel, the woman in a white kimono is holding a rice cake and just behind her are bolts of fabric, all of these items are offerings to the gods for a prosperous year ahead.

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