Hidaka - Paul Ensor

Inspiration details:

Woodblock print

Standard Print

Edo, Japan (published)

2/1860-3/1860

UTAGAWA KUNISADA I (designer) MARUYA JINPACHI (publisher)

FULL COLOUR PRINT

V&A collection reference number(s):
E.6626:1-1886

Artist Statement

Paul Ensor

Kiyohime is one of the most famous antagonists in Japanese literature, an example of honnari hannya — a demon woman of great power. She appears in the legend of Anchin and Kiyohime, an ancient tale from Wakayama prefecture, of unrequited love and tragedy — versions of the story appear in a number of ancient books. Her tale is retold in the noh play Dojo-ji.
The impression that the wearers of kimonos usually give is one of a well-defined and deliberate quietude. In this woodblock of the theatrical dance drama 'Edo-ganoko ninin dojo-ji' quite the opposite is the case.
The Japanese word uroko, the triangular design on the kimono, translates to the English word ‘scale’, like that of a fish or snake. In the original versions of the tale, Kiyohime, a lovelorn woman entranced by Anchin, a travelling monk, is shown in a kimono with this pattern, the meaning of which is revealed when her unrequited admiration turns to anger — an emotion so powerful that she is consumed by it, transforming into a monstrous and unstoppable serpent.
In the woodblock, the story is reaching its climax. The dancer is raging after wreaking revenge on Anchin. The kimono restlessly tossing about her form mirrors Kiyohime's physically and emotionally turbulent state as she pitches herself into the river Hidaka — the river standing as a barrier between Kiyohime's love and rage.
I made my brooch by repeatedly folding a long narrow triangular sheet of silver, backwards and forwards, into a repeating spiral of uroko, its intention a graphic interpretation of the legends culmination as depicted in the woodblock. As Kiyohime is drawn down into the water, the brooch twists and turns with the current, diminishing along its length until she finally disappears beneath the surface of the river.

Hidaka - Paul Ensor

No Image

Inspiration details:

Woodblock print

Standard Print

Edo, Japan (published)

2/1860-3/1860

UTAGAWA KUNISADA I (designer) MARUYA JINPACHI (publisher)

FULL COLOUR PRINT

V&A collection reference number(s):
E.6626:1-1886

2015 Exhibition Guide

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