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Portrait of Tomimoto Toyohina: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Artists cleverly evaded the government's ban on inscribing the names of women-other than courtesans-on their prints by creating picture-riddles of their names. Here, Utamaro rendered the name of Tomimoto Toyohina, a noted singer, in the box in the upper left as follows: tomi (a lottery, symbolized by the lottery box),mo (duckweed), to (a whetstone), to (a sliding door), yo (night, indicated by a lantern beside the door), and hina (dolls). In 1796, the government also banned such picture-riddles, thus ending artists' use of such playful pictorial devices.
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Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 10, 2009