Women at Various Hours of the Day: Hour of the Dragon


Women at Various Hours of the Day: Hour of the Dragon

Paintings / Edo

By Kitagawa Utamaro (1753?-1806)

Edo period, 18th century

大判 錦絵


Important Cultural Property

“Women at Various Hours of the Day” is a series of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. They depict scenes of young women going about their lives between the hours of 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. There are known to be 5 prints in all, showing scenes throughout the day in two-hour intervals.

This scene features two young maidens. The standing girl has a toothbrush in her mouth. From the disheveled condition of her striped yukata and her bared chest, it is evident she has just woken up. She is possibly looking at the potted morning glory held by the girl sitting next to her. The girl with the blue morning glory flowers has a hand towel draped across her shoulder, perhaps for washing. She certainly seems the more awake and alert of the two.

The faces and necks are drawn without any profile lines. This accentuates the softness of the girls' skin. The cool blue and green colors of the clothes are set against the warm yellow hue of the backdrop, creating a stark contrast. At the same time, flashes of red on the obi sash and yellow of the floral pattern on the clothing bring a harmony to the foreground and background.

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