10 panel screen with mounted colorful images of children playing in gardens, climbing trees, swimming, playing games

One Hundred Children at Play, late 19th century

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This folding screen draws upon a tradition of depicting an abundance of children, especially boys, playing in luxurious palace-garden settings, a convention first developed by Chinese artists in the 900s. Since then, such images have appeared frequently on everything from paintings to porcelain vases and clothing, not only in China but in places like Korea and Japan that are within the sphere of Chinese cultural influence. They represented the hopes for the birth of children and for their successes. A screen like this one, which shows numerous boys engaged in the same types of playtime activities as those seen in Chinese paintings from hundreds of years before, might have been used as an optimistic backdrop for a New Year’s party or some other celebratory gathering.

Details
Title
One Hundred Children at Play
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.79.458
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 864
Curator Approved

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10 panel screen with mounted colorful images of children playing in gardens, climbing trees, swimming, playing games