One hundred boys playing

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Artist: Yamawaki Toki (1777-1839)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1777-1839
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 31.1 x 836.3 cm (12 1/4 x 329 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


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

Yamawaki Toki, a pupil of Matsumura Goshun (1752-1811), shared his master's delight in comic and quirky figural representation. Here, Toki arranges his procession of children on a long, horizontal format in clusters and in confident singular poses, such as the child flying a kite in the opening passage. The children are arranged in a seasonal chronology of various feast days and holidays, but in a wider sense this painting is a masterful exercise in brushwork and composition.

Chinese themes were often depicted by Edo period Japanese artists. The theme of "one hundred children" represents the wish for multiple progeny and the resultant success, familial continuity, and social stability. Some suggest the theme also expresses the Chinese longing for a golden era barely in historical memory, but idealized as a period marked by widespread prosperity and civil accord.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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