Chikanobu, Events Outside the Chiyoda Castle - Procession of Feudal Lords

Toyohara Chikanobu (1838 - 1912) Chiyoda no-on omote (Events Outside the Chiyoda Castle): Procession of Feudal Lords, 1897. Oban hexaptych.

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A famous and stunning hexaptych showing the Chiyoda Palace at Ueno in Tokyo in the background and the procession of noblemen heading towards the residence of the Tokugawa Shogun.

The series Chiyoda no on-omote consists of around 33 designs including the title page published in 1897 by Fukuda Hatsujiro. The series shows scenes from around the outside walls of Chiyoda Palace in Edo. Chikanobu produced several different series of exquisite triptychs, made to the highest standards, of life in and around the Chiyoda Palace in Edo (Tokyo). The Palace itself, also known as Edo Castle, was built in 1457 by the warrior Edo Shigetsugu, in what is now the Honmaru and Ninomaru part of the Castle. It later became the seat of the old Tokugawa shogunate who  completed it in 1636. Chikanobu made a series of the inner castle, which was the ladies' quarters, imagining the traditional pastimes of women; and a second series in 1897, from which this is taken, of masculine pursuits such as boys' festivals and visits by noblemen.

Processions of feudal lords, as well as processions with the shogun himself, were frequent during the Edo period. The practice of lavish processions was enforced by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the final unifier and pacifier of Japan in 1603. After that time feudal lords had to establish a permanent, lavish residence in Edo with a permanent personal presence of either the damiyo himself or first-grade family members like his wife or his eldest son. This 'attendance' at the Edo residence was obligatory and subject to yearly or even shorter periods of alternate moves between a feudal lord's residences in his territory and in Edo. Each move was accompanied by a formal procession and often a staff of several hundred. The Shogun enforced a kind of permanent hostage-taking called Sankin-koyai, which kept rival daimyo weak and in constant attendance.The formality and expense of this system is what Chikanobu illustrates in this print.

Clearly an impressive achievement, the six sheets are brimming with incidental detail of the feudal life of Edo. The drawing, boldness and brilliance of the design make it one of Chikanobu’s greatest prints. Unusually well preserved, unbacked and very bright; colour and impression are excellent. Condition is much better than many copies of the unwieldy set which often sustain damage. Some sheets are slightly trimmed but overall fine condition.

Published by Fukuda Hatsujiro.

142 x 35 cm.