Jul 25, 2014

Koto from the series The Six Arts in Fashionable Guise

Koto from the series The Six Arts in Fashionable Guise

c. 1793-96

Chōbunsai Eishi 鳥文斎栄之

(Japanese, 1756–1829)

Color woodblock print; ink and color on paper

Sheet: 36.6 x 25 cm (14 7/16 x 9 13/16 in.)

The Kelvin Smith Collection, given by Mrs. Kelvin Smith 1985.301



Chinese classical education consisted of the Six Arts: performing rites, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy, and mathematics. The Chinese qin, a stringed musical instrument in the zither family, customarily symbolizes the art of music. In this print a similar Japanese instrument, the koto, replaces the qin. The fashionable Japanese entertainer playing it stands in for an accomplished Chinese scholar.

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