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yuuraku-zu@—VŠy}
KEY WORD :@art history / paintings
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Lit. depictions of amusements. A major category of genre painting *fuuzokuga •—‘­‰æ and an important theme newly prominent in Momoyama period painting from the 15c that formed the basis of later *ukiyo-e •‚¢ŠG, especially *bijinga ”ül‰æ.
The enjoyment of life's manifold pleasures was captured in a range of paintings that featured popular entertainments such as festivals, theater or prostitution that flourished with the new peace and prosperity of late 16c and 17c town society.
Yuurakuzu developed out of the pictorial themes of tsukinami fuuzoku-zu ŒŽŽŸ•—‘­} (see *fuuzokuga •—‘­‰æ), with their emphasis on seasonal rituals and customs, and *rakuchuu rakugai-zu —Œ’†—ŒŠO}, which included depictions of entertainment districts of the capital, Kyoto, that later became independent painting subjects *Shijougawara-zu Žlð‰ÍŒ´} is one such subject. Pictures of festivals *sairei-zu Õ—ç} also often included depictions of street entertainments and should be considered as part of the background of the developments in yuuraku-zu.
The combination of depictions of amusements with those of famous places *meisho-e –¼ŠŠG, including mountains, temples, and shrines popular for sightseeing in the Kyoto area, formed one type or sub-genre, pictures of outdoor amusements, yagai yuuraku-zu –ìŠO—VŠy}. Among the best-known is Kanou Hideyori's Žë–ìG—Š (d.1557) Maple Viewing of Mt.Takao, screen Takao kanpuu-zu ‚—YŠÏ•–} (Tokyo National Museum), probably paired originally with scenes of Higashiyama in spring and summer. Other notable examples that present typical outdoor sight-seeing and events with eating, drinking and dancing at well-known places are: the screens of Merry-Making Under Cherries at Gion and Kamigamo, Kaka yuuraku-zu ‰Ô‰º—VŠy} (Nanban “ì”Ø Museum in Hyougo prefecture and Suntory ƒTƒ“ƒgƒŠ| Museum in Tokyo, early 17c); Kamo Horse racing *Kamo no keiba ‰ê–΋£”n (Nishimura ¼‘º collection, first half of 17c); and the Famous Places of Higashiyama, Higashiyama meisho-zu “ŒŽR–¼Š} (Tsuruki ’ß—ˆ collection, late 16c-early 17c). Other yagai yuuraku-zu cannot be identified with specific locales. The Cherry-Viewing screen, Hanami-zu ‰ÔŒ©}, paired with *Takagari ‘éŽë (MOA Museum in Shizuoka prefecture, first half of 17c), Dengaku Dance screen, Dengaku odori “cŠy—x‚è (Hosomi ×Œ© Museum in Osaka, first half of 17c) and Kanou Naganobu's Žë–ì’·M (1577-1654); Merrymaking Under Cherries, screens Kaka yuuraku-zu (Tokyo National Museum) focus increasingly on human activities. A second type pictures of indoor amusements, shitsunai yuuraku-zu Žº“à—VŠy} are an outgrowth of yuuri-zu —V—¢} (pictures of the entertainment districts) which show the public's interest in establishments for relaxation and the assignations or preliminaries before retiring to a brothel, properly known as tea house chaya ’ƒ‰®. This type of yuuraku-zu also showed the employees of brothels in famous Kyoto areas such as Gion ‹_‰€, Kamishichiken ãŽµŒ¬ near Kitano Tenmanguu –k–ì“V–ž‹{, and Shimabara “‡Œ´ (for Edo yuuri-zu, see *Yoshiwara ‹gŒ´). One screen of a pair handed down at Sououji Sououji byoubu ‘Š‰žŽ›› •— (Tokugawa “¿ì Art Museum in Nagoya, early 17c), for instance, shows the entertainments in various rooms of a huge two-story brothel. Large numbers of men bathe, sing, dance, drink, and relax together with courtesans. Compositionally, pictures of indoor amusements, as with those of outdoor amusements, came to focus more closely on the activities of a few figures, dropping the panoramic compositions or multi-scenic depictions of an entire establishment. The famous Hikone Screen, Hikone byoubu •Fª› •— (Hikone Castle Museum, in Shiga prefecture, first half of 17c), in its relatively large-scale depiction of the human figures (engaged in activities and postures popularized in the pleasure districts) placed against a largely empty background and with an emphasis on the details of fashion including kimono ’…•¨ fabric designs is representative of the genre. A third type of yuuraku-zu, is that of women fujo •w— and particularly courtesans yuujo —V—. Indeed there is a general development towards pictures of amusements which increasingly focus on stylish young women in the latest fashions and hairstyles. The so-called Legendary Honda Heihachirou, Honda Heihachirou Sugata-e –{‘½•½”ª˜NŽpŠG (Tokugawa Art Museum, first half of 17c) with its quasi-narrative inclusion of the male "title-character" amongst a bevy of women including his ill-fated love and Tokugawa Ieyasu's “¿ì‰ÆN granddaughter Senhime ç•P (1597-1666), represents the transition from shitsunai yuuraku-zu to fujo yuuraku-zu •w——VŠy}. Examples of fujo yuuraku-zu are the screen of Weaving, Hataori ‹@D (MOA in Shizuoka prefecture, first half of 17c) and the Matsura Screen, Matsuura byoubu ¼‰Y› •— (Yamato Bunkakan ‘å˜a•¶‰ØŠÙ in Nara, first half of 17c) which show courtesans engaged in various activities. Numerous screens of Dancers, maiko •‘ŒÆ focus exclusively upon beautifully-dressed dancing girls (or sometimes young men) placed against a gold-foil background. The screens owned by Kyoto City Museum, the Yamato Bunkakan, and Suntory Museum are representative examples of this theme.
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