A Woman Embroidering A Dragon Analysis

Decent Essays
Katsushika Hokusai lived from 1760 to 1849. During his lifetime, Hokusai trained many artists. Unlike most masters, Hokusai preferred to tutor them for only a few years so they could be independent. As a result, his students produced a variety of subjects. Hokusai, however, did introduce his students to the idea of painting under a patron to create a surimono. In particular, his students Ryuryukyo Shinsai and Teisai Hokuba operated under this principle of patronage. One can observe the theme of patronage in these two individuals through their subjects of New Year festivals and styles that pay homage to Hokusai. Patronage was an essential aspect to the life of a painter. While some artists could sell their works commercially on the market,…show more content…
In Shinsai's woodblock print of a Woman Embroidering a Dragon (Fig. 1), a woman is shown embroidering a fabric that will most likely be used for a kimono. The potted Adonis plant and the painting of the plum blossoms contextualizes this print as taking place around New Years. These two symbols indicate rebirth, which is associated with the New Year. The text on the left side of the print describes the scene. Shinsai's other print New Year's Refreshments (Fig. 2) depicts the various foods one would eat for the New Year. Specifically, cold snacks or osechi ryori would be in the large bento box, and the pot is meant for heated sake. Similar to the Woman Embroidering a Dragon, the refreshment print has an Adonis plant as well, but Shinsai has included a bonsai tree and a lobster. These last two images are supposed to be auspicious symbols of longevity. Longevity is imperative for a New Year, as you were meant to remove the bad spirits as a way to bring good luck to an individual in the coming year. Hokuba's print, on the other hand, showcases individuals celebrating the new year. Hokuba's Flowers: Two Women Playing with a Small Child at New Year (Fig. 3) is akin to Shinsai's embroidering print, as the women have placed rice balls on a branch like plum blossoms. The people are also reading a picture book from the print dated Year of the Tiger, which was a common activity during New…show more content…
For example, the interior spaces of the prints resemble Hokusai's New Year's Day at the Ogiya Brothel (Fig. 4). Like Hokusai, Shinsai and Hokuba apply a blown off roof technique. The rooms also tend to be on an exaggerated diagonal line. While his students include less people in their prints, the people are grouped similarly to Hokusai's creating analogous angles. All three artists utilize the same colors as well in their prints: yellow, blue, green, brown, black, and reds. The fabrics on the individuals also have unique patterns on different layers to create a rich image. While Shinsai's refreshment print does not include people, it does follow a comparable model of Hokusai. Unlike people, Hokusai gives more depth to objects in his print. This technique is used in order to demonstrate space in an image. Shinsai applies this understanding in his still-life print, as he shows the different angles to his objects. However, unlike Hokusai, Shinsai did not include a background to his objects, and instead they seem to float in space on the paper. In becoming independent artists, Shinsai and Hokuba used their knowledge of Hokusai's painting style, and applied it to fit their own
Get Access