Parody Pictures of the Late Edo Period—Toyokuni Ⅲ・Hiroshige・Kuniyoshi

Ota Memorial Museum of Art

poster for Parody Pictures of the Late Edo Period—Toyokuni Ⅲ・Hiroshige・Kuniyoshi

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Ukiyo-e prints portraying beautiful women, kabuki actors, and landscapes often featured hidden riddles that included alternate meanings and associations. These riddles, which were inserted into the pictures by ukiyo-e artists and publishers of the Edo era, included waka (31-syllable poems) and haikai (17 syllable poems). Themes of the riddles included literature, Japanese history, kabuki plays, and the geography, manners, and customs of the provinces. Therefore, a broad knowledge was required to truly understand the meaning of the prints.

In the late Edo period, a special technique called “parody pictures” used by artists such as Utagawa Toyokuni Ⅲ, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and Utagawa Hiroshige became popular. Intended for intellectuals, parody pictures involved associating the components of a picture with different images, similar to a word association game. By reading into the hidden meanings of the prints, we can glimpse the intellectual atmosphere that Edo people enjoyed. This exhibition is an opportunity to learn about the complex world of ukiyo-e through parody pictures.

[Related Events]
Curator Slideshows
Curators discuss highlights of the exhibition
Dates: 12/4 (Wed), 12/14 (Sat), 12/18 (Wed) from 14:00 (40 min. each)
Free with admission ticket, reservations not required.

[Image: Utagawa Toyokuni Ⅲ “Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road: Miya, Kabuki Actor, Ichikawa Danjūrō Ⅷ as Kagekiyo”]

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From 2013-11-30 To 2013-12-20

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