Playing the "Hand Game"

Playing the "Hand Game"

c. 1760

Hasegawa Yasumasa 長谷川安政


Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper

Overall: 39 x 55.3 cm (15 3/8 x 21 3/4 in.)

The Kelvin Smith Collection, given by Mrs. Kelvin Smith 1985.258



This scene depicts three people playing a game in which three players make hand gestures simultaneously. The relationship among the gestures determines the winner. Known as hand games, during the eighteenth century they were popular in Japan among courtesans. In this version, the contestants use both hands, indicating a special variation such as the fox hand game, which features gestures for a fox, a village leader, and a hunter.

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