Daikagura Performers, 1800s

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Daikagura performers organized into traveling troupes at New Year’s in order to distribute amulets from the great Shinto shrine at Ise. They performed the shishimai, the dance of divine lions, and a variety of acrobatic feats. In this print, a group of women and children chance upon a Daikagura troupe. To the delight of one boy, an entertainer is doing a balancing act while simultaneously playing the flute. One of his companions keeps time by beating a drum while another unpacks. Other auspicious motifs in the composition include a view of Mount Fuji in the background and a blossoming plum tree, considered a harbinger of spring. The ideogram for longevity appears on the boy’s kite. This celebratory composition was probably commissioned for a poetry society’s publication of poems in commemoration of the New Year. Unfortunately, the text that would have helped identify the poetry group has been trimmed from the image.

Daikagura Performers
Artist Life
1760 - 1849
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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