The Department of Research Programming is investigating early modern genre paintings, such as Genre Figures, said to be based on the romance of Honda Heihachiro and Lady Senhime, as a joint research project with the Tokugawa Art Museum. 2010 is the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Museum, and upon this occasion a special exhibition called the “Treasures of the Owari Tokugawa Family” was held (October 2 to November 7). In light of this opportunity, on display since September 28 are the enlarged picture panels of Genre Figures and Kabuki Performance and Audience (both are important cultural properties) as part of research investigation results. Genre Figures is a relatively smaller two panel folding screen, 72.2 cm height. We had the image outputted by magnifying it by approximately 3.5 times in order to match the Honda Heihachiro’s height with the average body height of 157 cm that was assumed from the male remains of the feudal lord class in the Edo Period. When the right panel is enlarged with the same degree of magnification, the female in a kimono with crest of hollyhock, the central figure, will match the average height 146 cm of the wives and concubines of feudal lords in the same way. This lets us know that the difference in physical size between males and females of the time is accurately reflected in the portraits. Kabuki Performance and Audience is 36.7 cm length, made up from two scrolls on which there are six pictures each. We had this scroll output by magnifying it by approximately 2.5 times. We can clearly confirm the color expression by delicate gradations and the elaborately drawn textural differences, and focus attention on detailed description, which has been overlooked until now. When the line drawings and the state of colors are observed in detail, the intention and reason for the expression techniques will come up. We will apply the information thus far obtained to the study of works and will work to deepen the understanding a variety of art pieces.
Genre Figures" exhibited on panel
Kabuki Performance and Audience" exhibited on panel