Moonlight Revelry at Dozo Sagami

Artist: Kitagawa Utamaro 喜多川歌麿 (1753-1806)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, late 18th- early 19th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 147.4 x 321 cm (58 1/16 x 126 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

boat, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, koto, moon, music, ocean, shamisen, ukiyo-e

To 1903
Hayashi Tadamasa (1853-1906), Paris and Tokyo, to 1903 [1]

From 1903 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased at the Hayashi sale, through Siegfried Bing (1838-1905), Paris, in 1903 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Curatorial Remark 1, undated folder sheet note, in the object record.See also, Original Kakemono List, L. 295, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Hayashi Tadamasa (C.L. Freer source) 1853-1906
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Utamaro is known mainly for his sumptuous woodblock prints portraying women. Moonlight Revelry, a masterpiece among his few paintings, once formed a set of three on the themes of "Snow," "Moon," and "Flower."  This painting shows the spacious salon of an elite pleasure house located in Shinagawa, once a suburb of Edo (now Tokyo), the center of the shogun's government. Here Utamaro used principles of European perspective, which had begun to be incorporated into Japanese art during the eighteenth century, to depict a dramatic architectural setting while maintaining the elevated viewpoint of traditional Japanese painting.

This painting illustrates on a grand scale many of the Japanese ideas that transformed James McNeill Whistler's work.  The elevated viewpoint and such compositional formulas as a woman leaning against a railing facing the bay appear in The Balcony (see F1892.23). Whistler's paintings also reveal his study of Japanese color composition.

Published References
  • Kobayashi Tadashi. "歌麿大画「深川の雪」考." Consideration of Utamaro's large painting "Snow in Fukagawa". 1462 Japan, 08/2017. plate 2.
  • Shinagawa Historical Museum. Shinagawa Historical Museum: An Exhibition Commemorating the 30th Anniversary. Exh. cat. Tokyo, Japan. pg. 70-71.
  • Kobayashi Tadashi. "喜多川歌麿大作「雪月花」." Kitagawa Utamaro's Masterpiece Setsugekka Triptych. Exh. cat. Japan, 2017. cover, interior cover, p 14, p 15-16, p 22-25, and back cover.
  • Kitagawa Utamaro Fukagawa in the Snow. Exh. cat. Japan. .
  • Title unknown. vol. 5 Japan, May 2014. .
  • Masterpieces of Utamaro Paintings. .
  • Jack Hillier. Utamaro: colour prints and paintings. Oxford. fig. 83.
  • Harold P. Stern, Narasaki Muneshige. Ukiyo-e shuka. vol. 16, Tokyo. vol. 16: pl. 8.
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 3, pt. I, pl. 61.
  • H. Batterson Boger. The Traditional Arts of Japan: A Complete Illustrated Guide. Garden City. pl. 8.
  • Hayashi Tadamasa, Siegfried Bing. Objets d'art et peintures de la Chine et du Japon: peintures, livres, réunis par T. Hayashi, dont la vente aura lieu du lundi 27 jan. au samedi 1er fév. 1902 inclus dans les galeries de mm. Durand-Ruel... Commissaire-priseur: me P. Chevalier. Paris. no. 1583, opp. p. 294.
  • Asano Shugo. Utamaro and Tochigi. vol. 1387 Japan. pl. 1.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Laurance P. Roberts, John M. Rosenfield. A Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramic, Prints, Lacquer., 1st ed. Tokyo and New York, 1976. .
  • Kobayashi Tadashi. "歌麿 The Beauty." UTAMARO The Beauty. pp. 14-16.
  • Kobayashi Tadashi. 週刊ニッポンの浮世絵100 (Great masters of Ukiyoe Art). Vol. 28 Tokyo, Japan, April 22, 2022. p. 15-16.
  • Kobayashi Tadashi. Utamaro's Beauty. Ukiyoe Gallery series, vol. 5. p. 26.
  • Elisabeth West FitzHugh. A Pigment Census of Ukiyo-e Paintings in the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 11 Washington and Ann Arbor, 1979. pp. 27-38.
  • Bettina Liebowitz Knapp. Word, image, psyche. p. 76.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. pp. 99, 118, fig. 79.
  • Japan. Library of nations Alexandria, Virginia. p. 102.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 139.
  • David Lauer, Stephen Pentak. Design Basics., 7th ed. p. 207.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 82, pp. 224-227.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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