Children at play

Historical period(s)
Edo period, 17th century
Ink, color, and gold on paper
H x W (.11): 40.9 x 200 cm (16 1/8 x 78 3/4 in) H x W (.12): 50.8 x 210.4 cm (20 x 82 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screens (six-panel)

child, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, playing
Provenance research underway.

This small screen is one of a pair that originally depicted children enacting the annual cycle of events of the twelve lunar months. This screen begins with the celebration of the New Year in the first lunar month. Girls play the traditional game of battledore and shuttlecock while boys practice archery. Several other lighthearted childrens' games and competitions, such as kickball and tug-of-war played with pet dogs, are also illustrated. At far left, children participate in the procession of the Aoi Matsuri, the festival of the Kamo Shrines held in Kyoto each year on May 15. The Aoi festival is named for the wild ginger plant (futaba aoi) that decorates houses along the path of the procession. Said to have originated in the seventh century, the parade today features participants dressed in historical costumes of the nobility of the Heian period (794-1185).

Published References
  • Nihon Ukiyo-e Kyokai. Nikuhitsu ukiyoe shusakuten. Exh. cat. Tokyo. cat. 5.
  • Ann McClellan. The Cherry Blossom Festival. Boston. p. 70.
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 53, p. 71.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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