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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 1/4 in. x 10 1/4 in. ( 38.7 cm x 26 cm )
Museum Purchase

On Display

Not currently on display



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:

The procession is undoubtedly for the woman in the lifted carriage. She must be of high status. On the roof of her carriage could be a character for her family name and the two flower designs could be her family crest. 

Physical Description:

The fourth print in a series of five, as noted in the lower left corner, this print shows five women. The women at the leftmost and rightmost positions carry the lifted carriage. They wear similar colored robes. At the center of the print are three individuals. One is inside the carriage wearing an ornate headpiece. The two women outside of the carriage beside her kneel. They offer something to the woman inside the carriage and are wearing similar clothes. Their headpieces are also ornamented, but less than the woman in the carriage. There is an umbrella in the upper right corner. Mount Fuji and the mountain range are seen in the background. There are two inscriptions. One is to the right of the first woman and under the carriage. The second is one character and is towards the bottom right. 

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