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The Evening Chime of the Clock

Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1725–1770)

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
ca. 1766
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Polychrome woodblock print; chuban; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
H. 11 1/8 in. (28.3 cm); W. 7 1/16 in. (17.9 cm) medium-size print (chu-ban)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936
Accession Number:
JP2447
  • Description

    The orderly composition of this scene, with architectural elements arranged in parallel diagonals, reveals a private room and courtyard behind a roofed wall covered with vines. In the tightly organized space, a woman in a loose garment sits on the veranda after her bath. The maid turns her head toward the clock, partially seen at left, at the moment it strikes the hour. The woman, though listening to the clock, seems preoccupied. The traditional representation of the "evening bell" in this print from the Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers appears in the pagoda of a temple in the distance. Here, the clock stands in for the temple bell. Again, there is a subtle suggestion of a romantic narrative; the strikes of the clock may remind the woman of a lover's impending visit. The standing screen decorated with bamboo divides formal areas of the house from the intimate scene we see here.

  • See also
    Who
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    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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