Yoshikazu Utagawa, Hashira-e, Playing Hanetsuki


Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Yoshikazu Utagawa (act. 1850-1870)
Title: Beauty Playing Hanetsuki
Publisher: Maru-ya Seijiro
Date: mid 19th century
Size: 10.2 x 64 cm
Condition: Top and bottom panels attached. Darkened colours. Light soiling and fading. Paper residue on the back.

A beauty dressed in a richly patterned kimono is caught in the middle of playing 'hanetsuki', traditional Japanese badminton. Traditionally a New Year's game, it is played with a wooden paddle called 'hagoita' and a shuttle called 'hane'. While the game's popularity has declined in recent times, beautifully ornamented hagoita are still a popular collection item. In here, it is decorated with a bamboo stalk.


Hashira-e, or pillar prints, is a narrow print format originally intended for decoration of the supporting pillars in traditional Japanese houses. The prints would have been pasted to the pillars and exposed to the elements of the Japanese household, making those that have survived very rare collectibles. While these more unusual sizes present their own challenges to the printing process, they also allow the artist to be experimental, imaginative, and innovative with the design’s compositional limitations.


Subjects range from the traditional portrayals of bijin (beautiful women), to legendary figures and heroes, to birds and flowers, in a limited space brimming with artistic imagination and expression.

Yoshikazu Utagawa (act. 1850 - 1870)

Yoshikazu started his artistic career as a pupil of Kuniyoshi Utagawa. Later on, he designed prints in the Yokohama school style, his subject matter including foreign customs and manners as well as landscapes and warriors.

More Information
Print FormatHashira-e (Pillar Print)
ArtistYoshikazu Utagawa (act. 1850 - 1870)
SubjectBeauty & Female
Size10.2 x 64 cm