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The Three Luck-bringer (Fúryú san fukujin), parody of Act 7 of Chúshingura
64.111
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This nice print, depicting the happy caricatures of luck in a dramatic though funny situation, is rare among the works of Utamaro who is best known for his pictures of beautiful women, particularly the beauties of pleasure quarters.

History of the Object
This print belongs to the so-called parody pictures of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. This type of print usually illustrates themes of classical literature, or takes its subject matter from the most popular contemporary plays such as Chúsingura ('The Treasury of loyal Retainers'). The 7th act of the play, the famous scene at the Ichiriki Teahouse was frequently illustrated by ukiyo-e masters. This print, as a caricature of the theme, depicts three figures at the moment of reading the same secret letter. The three characters of the scene are represented by three figures of popular belief whose name include the word 'fuku' (luck). In the centre Fukurokuju with his extremely large skull (figuring Yuranosuke the chief character) is reading the scroll of list secretly sent to him. At the same time, Otafuku (as Okaru) reads it with the help of a mirror on the upper level, while Fukusuke (as Kudayu, spy of Moronao) hiding under the veranda, tries to read it, too. Fukurokuju is one of the seven gods of luck, the god of long life. Otafuku is a plump-cheeked female figure (representing the Shintó goddess Uzume), especially popular in mask form. Fukusuke, a luck-bringer doll with a big head and short stature, was very popular in the early 19th century.

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Type
Print 
Materials
Colours on papre (nishiki-e) 
Measurements
óban size 
Creator name
Kitagawa Utamaro (Signature: Utamaro hitsu, publisher's seal: Tsuruya) 
Creator date
1753–1806 
Where it was made
Japan; Tokyo 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; ca. 1801–1804 
Function
 
Acquisition
Purchase from a private individual in 1964. The piece is from the collection of Aurél Gászner who worked as senior engineer of the Siemens Company in Tokyo from 1902 to 1908. 
Copyright
No information, data or images may be published or reproduced without written permission of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts, Budapest. 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Hungarian State; property management by the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest; in the Collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts, Budapest. 
Museum
Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts 
Credit line
Description by Éva Cseh, Japanist, Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts 

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