Toyohara Chikanobu (1838 - 1912) Sanno Festival at the Chiyoda Palace, 1897. Oban triptych.
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In contrast to the previous print, this ethereal (and extremely rare) masterpiece dates from two years later, 1897, and is from the series depicting the ‘outer’ precincts and the functions of the male members of the Chiyoda Castle. The festival is expected to ensure a good harvest and takes place in June. Enormous floats of spectacular ingenuity are paraded especially in the city of Takayama. The festival is now less elaborate in Tokyo. The processions are famous for the large ornate floats, or yatai, which roam around the city at night. The floats date back to the 17th century, and are decorated with intricate carvings of gilded wood and detailed metal-work, with elements from the early Edo period. The floats are also gorgeously decorated with embroidered drapery. Some of that rich embroidery is seen on the back of the extraordinary elephant.
This print shows the entrance to the palace courtyard and the men of the palace - functionaries and so on - are leading a rare white elephant, a spectacular gift from the Chinese (or possibly Korean) ambassador to the Emperor. A masterful print from Chikanobu, the elephant is a great rolling thing, the banners flutter and flags wave, in the distance as if in a dream, rises the palace itself.
A rare and desirable print. colour, condition and impression are all fine.