hanji-e 判じ絵
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A print based on a rebus. A collection of images that might suggest a place name, the name of a courtesan or a phrase from a song explained in pictures rather than letters. Like picture calendars *mekuragoyomi 盲暦, hanji-e were thought to have been originally devised to aid the illiterate in understanding the meaning of a pun, but many required that the viewer be well-versed in the customs of the day and were considered intellectual games. At first these pictures were positioned in cartouches *koma-e こま絵 in the upper corners of larger paintings, but by the mid-19c, Nidai Utagawa Hiroshige 二代歌川広重 (1826-69), and Utagawa Yoshifuji 歌川芳藤 (1828-87) designed hanji-e which covered the entire painting surface.


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