Utagawa TOYOHIRO (1773-1828)

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An oban print with title: Ryukyujin no zu, “Pictures of People from Ryukyu.” (A chain of Japanese islands stretching southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan.) The Ryukyuans had a specific culture, one element of which was to select young boys (gakudoji) from the upper classes of the capital to be apprenticed to perform as women in dances during the processionals to Edo. These processions of feudal lords, often with elaborate retinues, were required by the Shogun and were a way of keeping the lords submissive and cash-strapped as the journeys were extremely expensive. The gakudoji are usually shown riding a white horse with an attendant holding a large umbrella (a colourful parasol in this case). Another (heavily trimmed) design from this set is in the Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan. Toyohiro seems to have had a particular interest in these boys as he designed a number of other prints on this subject. Of the utmost rarity: I have not seen another print from this set in 50 years of dealing. Published by Shimizu, c. 1804.



Fine impression and colour with strong yellow ground. Possibly slightly trimmed (?), otherwise very good condition. Signed Toyohiro ga.



Status: Sold

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