Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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The Illustrious Nobility of the Empire
  • Toyohara Chikanobu
    born: Takada, Echigo province (present-day Niigata prefecture), Japan ; active: Japan
  • The Illustrious Nobility of the Empire, 1887, Meiji period (1868–1912)
  • Where object was made: Japan
  • color woodcut
  • Mat Dimensions: 20 x 36 in
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: a 365 x 236 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: a 14 3/8 x 9 1/4 in
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: b 362 x 238 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: b 14 1/4 x 9 3/8 in
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: c 365 x 240 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: c 14 3/8 x 9 7/16 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: a 374 x 249 mm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: a 14 3/4 x 9 3/4 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: b 375 x 248 mm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: b 14 3/4 x 9 3/4 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: c 373 x 250 mm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: c 14 5/8 x 9 13/16 in
  • Museum purchase: Lucy Shaw Schultz Fund
  • Not on display
  • 2006.0034.a,b,c

A triptych of color woodcut prints featuring the Japanese imperial family in western costume. On the left (print a) is the Empress Haruko (Masako) in a Victorian dress, sitting in an armchair. On the right (print c) is the Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito) in a black military uniform, based on French uniforms, also sitting in an armchair. In the middle the Crown Prince Yoshihito (future Emperor Taisho) stands between his parents (print b), looking toward the Emperor. The figures are set in front of colorful curtains with bold patterns, mostly chrysanthemums, the symbol of the imperial family. A large table with tablecloth, is in the middleground, center of composition, with three European-style bound books resting near the Crown Prince's hand. A small table with a purple tablecloth is to the left of the Crown Prince, with a large vase filled with peonies and other flowers.