Artist: Toyokuni Utagawa III (1786-1865)
Title: Lady-in-waiting, Jugoya
Series: Twelve Old Stories
Publisher: Sanoya Kihei
Size: 23.9 x 34.8 cm
The sho is made from bundled bamboo pipes. Its shape is made to represent the mythical phoenix at rest, with wings folded. This musical instrument that was introduced from China during the Nara period (AD 710 to 794). It is descended from the Chinese sheng, although the sho tends to be smaller in size. The instrument’s sound is said to imitate the call of a phoenix, and it is for this reason that the two silent pipes of the sho are kept—as an aesthetic element, making two symmetrical “wings”.