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Illustration of a New Year's Greeting for the Shogun from the series Flowers of Edo in the Past


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Illustration of a New Year's Greeting for the Shogun

from the series Flowers of Edo in the Past

by Yōshū Chikanobu, 1888

Illustration of Townspeople Watching Noh Play “Okina” in Edo Castle

IHL Cat. #164

About This Print

Daimyō come to Edo Castle to pay their respects to the shogun at the start of the year.  The attendance of the daimyō was an important ritual that confirmed the superior-subordinate relationship between the shogun and daimyō.

Source: "Lordly Pageantry: The Daimyo Procession and Political Authority," Constantine N. Vaporis, appearing in Japan Review, No. 17 (2005), International Research Centre for Japanese Studies, National Institute for the Humanities, p. 3-54

No other institution epitomized the Tokugawa period (1603-1868) as much as alternate attendance, or sankin kōtai 参勤交代. Under that system, the shogun in Edo required the semi-autonomous lords, or daimyo, to leave their domains to come wait on him, usually for a year at a time. The daimyo, furthermore, were required to keep their wives and most of their adolescent children in permanent residence in Edo, where they served, in effect, as hostages, acting as guarantees for continued daimyo good behavior. Through alternate attendance, large numbers of retainers were able to expand their social environments and mental worlds by leaving their individual domains to serve their lord in Edo.

A variant color printing with alternate publisher seal of Egawa Hachizaemon
Note that this impression carries a publication date of December 28, 1888
in the publisher's cartouche, while this collection's print carries no date.
Source: National Diet Library 2-2-2-4 00-035, 00-036, 00-037

About the Series
This series consists of seven triptychs issued in 1888 and 1889, two of which, New Year's Greeting for Shogun and Townspeople Watching Noh Play “Okina” in Edo Castle, are in this collection. All seven prints in the series are shown below. It is one of a number of series created by Chikanobu that fondly looks back on pre-Meiji times. While Chikanobu may have longed for a return to his samurai roots by hearkening back to days of the Shogunate, during the same period as this series was produced he was also designing prints promoting the Meiji government, such as this collection's print Illustration of the Imperial Procession through the Streets after the Ceremony of the Promulgation of the Constitution.

New Year's Greeting for Shogun, 1888
Nobel Ladies Evacuating from the Accidental Fire, 1889 

No. 3 Townspeople Watching Noh Play “Okina” in Edo Castle, 1889
第三編 旧幕府御大礼之節町人御能拝見之圖

No. 4 Daimyo's Processing Entering Edo, 1889
第四篇 旧諸侯参勤御入府之図

No. 5 Shogun's Wild Boar Hunting in Koganehara, 1889
第五篇 将軍家於小金原御猪狩之図
No.6 Procession of a Feudal Lord Visiting theTemple at Ueno, 1889
第六篇 旧諸侯上野初御仏参之図

No. 7 Shogun Hearing a Lawsuit at Fukiage
第七幕 将軍家於吹上而公事上聴之図

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Illustration of a New Year's Greeting for the Shogun [also translated as A Feudal Lord's First Visit to the Castle on the New Year's Day on the Lunar Calendar]
 Series Flowers of Edo in the Past [also translated as Revitalization of the Customs of Edo and Looking into the Past: The Pride of the East; The Flower of the East, Learning from History; Revitalization of the Customs of Edo; Looking into the Past: The Pride of the East; Looking into the Past: Flowers of the Eastern Capital; and Historical Events of Tokugawa Shogunate]
 Onko azuma no hana 温故東の花 
 Artist Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912)
Yōshu Chikanobu hitsu 楊洲周延 筆
 Seal red toshidama seal
 Publication Date December 1888 (this print does not carry a date - see publisher's seal below; given date is taken from the print in collection of the National Diet Library)
Egawa Hachizaemon 江川八左衛門 (Egawa Hachi'emon)
 [Marks: pub. ref. 050; seal not shown]

seal reading: 江川八左エ門
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair – backed with remnants of black paper backing along edges; foxing and minor soiling throughout (primarily on backing); several areas of thinning and worm damage; full margins; three individual sheets not joined
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 14 1/4 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 23.5 cm) each sheet
 Collections This Print
 National Diet Library Rare Book Collection 2-2-2-4 00-035, 00-036, 00-037 Call Number 寄別2-2-2-4; Edo-Tokyo Museum 91200201, 202, 203; Suntory Museum of Art; Shizuoka Prefectural Central Library K915-108-034-003
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