Out-of-the-Blue Bird (Tenkara tori): The Millet-eating Bird/ Panic Bird (Awakuidori)

「天加羅渡利 泡喰鳥」

Japanese
Edo period–Meiji era
about 1866–68 (Keiô 2–Meiji 1)
Artist Unknown, Japanese


Catalogue Raisonné

Ôta Mem. Mus., Warau ukiyo-e (2013), #80; Inagaki, Edo no asobi-e (1988), #34

Dimensions

Vertical ôban diptych; 35.8 x 52.9 cm (14 1/8 x 20 13/16 in.)

Accession Number

11.42097a-b

Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

Not On View

Collections

Asia, Prints and Drawings

Classifications

Prints

Refers to the unrest at the time of, and shortly before, the Meiji restoration, when wealthy people were moving their holdings here and there in search of a secure place. The bird’s body is made up of coins, account books, chests, cartwheels, etc.; the grains of millet are also coins. “Millet-eating” (awakui) is a pun on “foam-eating,” i.e. “frothing at the mouth, panicing.”

Signed

Unsigned
無款

Markings

No censor's seal
No blockcutter's mark
No publisher's mark
改印:なし
彫師:なし
版元:なし

Provenance

By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850–d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 19, 2005)

NOTES:
[1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection