Eight Shadow Figures by Utagawa Hiroshige - 1842
Eight Shadow Figures, c. 1842 by Utagawa Hiroshige; colour woodblock print , Publisher Jōshūya Jūzō. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
"The three prints in Hiroshige's New Edition of Shadow Making series were probably considered omocha-e (toy pictures) intended for children. Creating shadows through hand gestures was a common pastime for children, and such pictures would have helped them build their repertoire. The eight patterns presented here (clockwise from upper right) are a turtle on a rock, a man wearing a Chinese-style hat, a rabbit, a shachihoko (a legendary creature with the head of a dragon and the body of a dolphin), an owl, a fox, a snail and a crow. Three include written instructions on how to make the shadows move: "open your fingers within your sleeve to move the owl's wings," "draw up your knee for the fox's back," "move the chopsticks up and down [snail]." - The Minneapolis Institute of Art
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