Shijougawara-zu 四条河原図
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. pictures of the riverbed at fourth avenue Shijougawara 四条河原, the amusement center of Kyoto during the late 16c and 17c. The area is shown as barren in the *Rakuchuu rakugai-zu 洛中洛外図 (Scenes In and Around the Capital) screens in the Uesugi 上杉 collection datable to shortly before 1574, but is depicted as a bustling entertainment district in the former Funaki 船木 collection Rakuchuu rakugai-zu (Tokyo National Museum) produced around 1610. The gravel riverbeds or shoals of the Kamo 鴨 River were dry except for periodic flooding. Theatrical entertainment, including *kabuki 歌舞伎, *nou 能 plays, and puppet drama ningyou joururi 人形浄瑠璃, competed for customers along with a panoply of more modest amusements, including acrobats, musicians, sumou 相撲 wrestlers, human oddities, wild and trained animal shows, archery ranges, and tea houses. Shijougawara became a new famous place (see *meisho-e 名所絵) depicted both as one scene on screen compositions of the capital and as the sole theme of paintings. Illustrators depicting the activities at Shijougawara document the various entertainments and, in particular, the development of courtesan's kabuki, yuujo kabuki 遊女歌舞伎, which was banned in 1629. Well-known examples of Shijougawara-zu include the pair of two-panel screens in the Seikadou Bunko 静嘉堂文庫 Art Museum, Tokyo, and the two-panel screen (originally *fusuma 襖) in the Doumoto 堂本 collection, Kyoto. The spirit of vitality in these early depictions was replaced by a more stylized approach to the subject as seen in the pair of six-panel screens in the Museum of Fine Arts. Activities at Shijougawara were depicted also in handscrolls *kansubon 巻子本 in the late 17c (Kaneda 金田 and Suntory サントリ− Museum of Art collections).


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