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Procession of Girls with Fuji Foreheads (Fuji bitai hana no gyôretsu)

Utagawa Toyokuni I

Artwork Details

Procession of Girls with Fuji Foreheads (Fuji bitai hana no gyôretsu)
late 18th century - early 19th century
Utagawa Toyokuni I
color woodblock print on paper, one of series of five
15 1/16 in. x 10 1/4 in. ( 38.3 cm x 26 cm )
Museum Purchase
1938.4

On Display

Not currently on display

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Description

Utagawa Toyokuni I
Japan, 1769–1825
Procession of Girls with Fuji Foreheads
Edo period (1615–1868)
Late 18th to early 19th century
Color woodblock print on paper
Museum Purchase, 1938.4–8
Mount Fuji was frequently shown in the mass-produced woodblock prints known
as ukiyo-e or “pictures of the floating world.” These prints depicted subjects such as
popular fashions or significant landmarks in the Japanese landscape. This set of five
prints combines these two themes by cleverly pairing a woman sporting a trendy
hairstyle known as the “Fuji forehead” (fuji bitai) with Mount Fuji. The hairstyle
emphasized the pale flatness of the forehead and was produced by pinning the hair
so that it showed off the widow’s peak, creating a shape reminiscent of the famous
mountain. While Mount Fuji was visible from the city of Edo (present-day Tokyo), the
women’s proximity to it suggests the artist deliberately flattened the space to create a
more direct parallel between their hair and the mountain.

Subject Matter:

This print is the first of a series that is meant to be observed together ​(​​​​​​https://collections.mfa.org/objects/500324). On the bottom right is a small symbol of the number one signifying the order. This particular print is the front of the procession for the daimyo. Their hair is done in the "fuji forehead" that the title suggests, a style that reveals a Mt. Fuji-shaped hairline. 
 

Physical Description:

This woodblock print depicts a procession of three almost identical women. Their clothes have many layers and feature the same color scheme. The two girls in the front are wearing the same clothes, but the girl in the back wears a different colored obi (or sash/belt) and has a layer that is darker colored than the other girls. The two in the front carry two box-looking objects on sticks as they walk forward. The girl in the back holds a long stick upright. The background is a mountainous landscape. There are two inscriptions. One under the leftmost girl and another under the girl who is different from the other two. There appears to be a faint stamp on the very bottom right. 

Usage Rights:

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