VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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New Year’s Day (as one of the series “Annual events in Japan”)
NMHC_A2ha0037
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Being produced for the specific purpose of introducing Japanese culture as faithfully as possible to 19th century Europe, each painting of Keiga constitutes such a capital resource and raw material for historians of Japanese culture to reconstruct the past that all can be called a masterpiece of the time when no photography existed. Ryuji HIRAOKA and Kenji KUBO, curator, Nagasaki.

History of the Object
This painting of Kawahara Keiga (1786-?) exquisitely depicts a scene of New year’s day in Japan in the late Edo period (early-mid 19th century). A street performer is dancing outside the front gate. At the entrance hall, a lady is seen welcoming guests and a young girl is bringing tea from the inside. On the screen behind, a Li Taibo’s composition is beautifully penned. On the right of the guests, we can see the “Horai”, ceremonial stand decorated with a spiny lobster, orange, fern and pine branch. The cooking stove on the left is ornamented with “Kojin kazari”, dedicatory decoration to a God of Fire, all of which are hardly to be seen in present-day Japan. Keiga was a painter who played an active role in Nagasaki from 1800s. Other than the series of the annual events in Japan, he drew many paintings: a life of Japanese people, scenic beauties, animals and plants in Japan at the request of the Dutch who worked for VOC in Dejima like J.C.Bromhoff (1779-1853), J.F.Fisscher (1800-1840) and P.F von Siebold (1796-1866).

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Type
Drawing 
Materials
color on silk 
Measurements
26.5cm × 35.3cm 
Creator name
Kawahara Keiga 
Creator date
1786-? 
Where it was made
Japan; Nagasaki 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; the late Edo period (1603-1867) 
Function
 
Acquisition
This drawing was purchased by Nagasaki prefecture in 1973 for the collection of Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum. Since 2005, it has been preserved in Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan 
Museum
Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture 
Credit line
Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture, Nagasaki, Japan 

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