Chikanobu Yoshu, Girls Playing Hanetsuki, New Year Game


Artist: Chikanobu Yoshu (1838–1912)
Title: Girls Playing Hanetsuki
Publisher: Fukuda Kumajiro
Date: 1887
Size: (L)35.9 x 24.8 (C)35.9 x 24.4 (R)35.9 x 24.2 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

The girls in this print are playing 'hanetsuki', a traditional game similar to badminton. Usually a New Year's game, it is played with a wooden paddle called 'hagoita' and a shuttle called 'hane'. The paddles often had pictures of kabuki actors painted on them and while the game's popularity has declined in recent times, beautifully ornamented hagoita are still a popular collection item.

More Information
Print Format Triptych
Artist Name Chikanobu Yoshu
Title Girls Playing Hanetsuki
Subject Beauty & Female, Kimono Design
Dimensions (L)35.9 x 24.8 (C)35.9 x 24.4 (R)35.9 x 24.2 cm
Condition Report Light soiling, watermarks, some thin areas.

Chikanobu Yoshu

Born into the Hashimoto samurai family in the Echigo province, Chikanobu became one of the final, great, traditional ukiyo-e artists of the Meiji era, fighting to preserve the traditional culture of Japan. Even so, the modernisation brought about by Western values and technologies can be seen in his work. As a result, he develops a distinctive personal style blending a close adherence to the traditional technique of ukiyo-e, and occasional western imagery. Chikanobu’s early work includes the series ‘From the Famous Places of Edo’, as well as war prints based on the Kagoshima uprising in 1877. He also designed prints rooted in traditional myths and legends. Even though Chikanobu’s prints showcase a variety of subjects, due to the wealth of his beauties and court ladies works, it is believed that the customs and events of the imperial family were his favourite subject. Out of these prints, the most well-known series is probably ‘Court Ladies of the Chiyoda Place’ (‘Chiyoda no O-oku’), which depicts the court life in the palace of the Tokugawa shogunate. This series, like many of Chikanobu’s artworks, is a series of triptychs. Another famous series by this artist is titled ‘True Beauties’ (‘Shin Bijin’) that showcases Japanese ladies in traditional kimono. Influenced by the rapid changes happening in Japanese society following the Meiji restoration, Chikanobu also produced beauty prints showing ladies in Western clothing, as opposed to kimono.