Jul 25, 2014

Koto from the series The Six Arts in Fashionable Guise

Koto from the series The Six Arts in Fashionable Guise

c. 1793–96

Chōbunsai Eishi 鳥文斎栄之

(Japanese, 1756–1829)

Color woodblock print; ink and color on paper

Sheet: 36.6 x 25 cm (14 7/16 x 9 13/16 in.)

The Kelvin Smith Collection, given by Mrs. Kelvin Smith 1985.301



Chinese classical education consisted of the Six Arts: performing rites, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy, and mathematics. The Chinese qin, a stringed musical instrument in the zither family, customarily symbolizes the art of music. In this print a similar Japanese instrument, the koto, replaces the qin. The fashionable Japanese entertainer playing it stands in for an accomplished Chinese scholar.

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